1042: Two Dictators

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 1m
June 14th, 2018
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch and Lower Slobbovia, Sir. Michael of 3rd World South East Asia, Zachary Montgomery

Associate Executive Producers: Kevin Laux, Keith McColpin, Robert Umberger

Cover Artist: Irritable Pre-Op Transracial

Chapters

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Woodstock
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TODAY
Communique
CUE:NA-1042-START
TV Series Barry on HBO
Colorado Rainstick
Mea Culpa
From Dan H
Hey Adam,
When I listened to the Original
I knew the Chantix comment was at 1:18:00 because I took a screenshot on my
phone. When it was re-released and 16-minutes shorter in length, I spent
several minutes trying to find that section of conversation and was unable to.
I wanted to clip it. I was confident it was gone and that is why I sourced the
original to clip from.
But, I fucked up. It is in the new version at 1:03:10. The removed content was
ads and pre/post-interview junk. I'm yet to listen to today's NA. I hope the
"Edit" wasn't of much discussion. I'm
quite embarrassed and apologise profusely.
-Daniel
Before His Death, Anthony Bourdain Once Admitted to Taking Drug Linked to Hundreds of Suicides '' GOV'T SLAVES
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 00:40
Rachel Blevins''Celebrity Chef and TV Personality Anthony Bourdain took his own life on Friday, and as his friends, family and the public are left with endless questions, evidence has surfaced showing that Bourdain was using the drug Chantix, which has been linked to hundreds of suicides.
Bourdain was vocal about his attempt to quit smoking by using the popular anti-smoking drug Chantix. In February 2012, Chef Michael Symon shared on Twitter that he ''had a little smoking hiccup the other day'... moment of weakness'... but unlike other attempts to quit, got right back on track,'' and Bourdain replied, ''tried Chantix? It makes some people stabby but worked for me.''
@chefsymon tried Chantix? It makes some people stabby but worked for me.
'-- Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) February 16, 2012
The claim that Chantix ''makes some people stabby'' is an understatement, considering the fact that the drug comes with a long list of side effects, including hallucination, mood changes, aggressive behavior, thoughts of hurting or killing others, and suicidal thoughts or actions.
While Chantix may help some people stop smoking, the negative impact it can have on every other aspect of a person's life raises questions about whether it is worth it. When Bourdain was asked in April 2012 if he really did quit smoking, he replied, ''I really did quit smoking and it has in no way improved my life'--or my palate, unfortunately.''
However, Bourdain was still taking the drug in November 2012, and he found that the side effects became even worse when mixed with the anti-malaria drug, Malarone. He wrote on Twitter, ''Chantix and Malarone do not mix well.''
Chantix and Malarone do not mix well.
'-- Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) November 24, 2012
While it is unclear how long Bourdain continued to take Chantix, the fact is that he introduced a powerful drug into his system that has been shown to have an overwhelming number of dangerous side effects. In fact, as Medical Daily reported, Institute for Safe Medical Practice senior researcher Thomas J. Moore concluded that Chantix was ''associated with more adverse effects than any other medication on the market'' in 2008.
After approving the drug in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration was forced to place a ''black box warning'' on Chantix in 2009, because of the overwhelming number of reports linking it to suicidal thoughts, hostility, and agitation.
Between 2008 and 2013, at least 544 suicides and 1,869 attempted suicides in the United States were connected to Chantix, according to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and reported by Al-Jazeera.
In a 2010 study on the cases in which users reported increased violence or aggression after taking Chantix, Moore told Al-Jazeera that he found many of the examples started with acts of violence and then progressed to suicide attempts and that there were usually three common factors.
''First, the violence was absolutely unpredictable and senseless,'' Moore said. ''Second, the victim was anybody who happened to be nearby. It could have been a fianc(C). It could have been a mother. It could have been a police officer. And third, these people had no history of violence and were unlikely prospects for a violent act.''
While it is not clear whether Bourdain showed signs of violence or aggression, his suicide appears to have been sudden and has shocked many. It is not known whether Bourdain was taking any pharmaceutical prescriptions at the time of his death, but actress Rose McGowen responded by speaking out about his battle with depression and his relationship with her close friend, Asia Argento, in a letter:
''When Anthony met Asia, it was instant chemistry. They laughed, they loved and he was her rock during the hardships of this last year. Anthony was open with his demons, he even wrote a book about them. In the beginning of their relationship, Anthony told a mutual friend, ''He's never met anyone who wanted to die more than him.'' And through a lot of this last year, Asia did want the pain to stop. But here's the thing, over their time together, thankfully, she did the work to get help, so she could stay alive and live another day for her and her children. Anthony's depression didn't let him, he put down his armor, and that was very much his choice. His decision, not hers. His depression won. Anthony and Asia had a free relationship, they loved without borders of traditional relationships, and they established the parameters of their relationship early on. Asia is a free bird, and so was Anthony. Was. Such a terrible word to write.''
Anthony Bourdain will be remembered as both a chef and a humanitarian who used his award-winning series, ''Parts Unknown,'' to break the barriers between cultures in the countries he visited.
From accusing the world of robbing the Palestinian people of ''their basic humanity'' after a trip to Gaza, to admitting that he was ''really knocked sideways by how well we were treated'' during a trip to Iran, to remarking that a trip to Cambodia would make anyone want ''to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands,'' Bourdain worked to humanize parts of the world that are typically demonized by the United States.
Frequently, I've come to regret things I've said. This, from 2001, is not one of those times: pic.twitter.com/1NiHlupJkL
'-- Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) February 5, 2018
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Anthony Bourdain Took Chantix, Side Effects Have Been Suicidal Thoughts. Will Cable News Give Major Advertiser a Pass?
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 11:36
Anthony Bourdain taking his own life last week sent shockwaves throughout the media world for obvious reasons. The self-described ''enthusiast'' appeared to be a world-class bon vivant who celebrated the beauty of the world in the most unique and respectful way imaginable: embracing the most interesting culinary and cultural delights in a manner that inspired viewers of his CNN docu-series Parts Unknown. Like so many suicides, it made next to no sense for those who worked with him closely, who were left only to ask why.
Well, it turns out there is one possible influence that has thus far been unexamined by news outlets: Bourdain was a user of the smoking cessation drug Chantix. Why is this relevant? Well anyone who watches a fair share of cable news and has seen the fairly ubiquitous Chantix marketing campaign, a drug for which a known side effect has been suicidal thoughts. But the news coverage of Bourdain's passing thus far has ignored the possible influence of this drug, despite its very public warnings.
The evidence of Bourdain taking Chantix is still on Twitter. In 2012 he tweeted a couple of times, once lauding the benefits (though admitting the side effects of making ''some people stabby''):
And another claiming how Chantix and anti-malaria drug Malarone does not create a very good cocktail:
Some background: Chantix became available to the public in 2006 and quickly earned the reputation as the most sure-fire way to quit smoking. But the drug also came with a number of possible side effects that included horrible nightmares, amnesia, and suicidal thoughts. A 2011 report found that Chantix was eight times more likely to be linked with a reported case of suicidal behavior or depression than other nicotine replacement products.
The FDA received so many reports linking the drug to serious mental health issues that it ordered Pfizer, the maker of Chantix, to feature a black-box warning label '-- which is the most severe level of labeling requirement. In September of 2016, however, the FDA narrowly voted in favor of removing the warning, arguing that the benefits of Chantix outweighed the demerits of its side-effects and that ''there was no clear evidence of causality between the drug and the side-effects.'' Broadcast commercials still include the line ''some people had changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts.''
It is impossible to truly know if, in fact, Chantix played any part in Bourdain's passing. The circumstances, however, suggest it's at least worth examining. But will news outlets take a critical eye towards a product that spends millions of dollars promoting its drugs on its own airwaves? A search of transcript database TVEyes shows Chantix advertises on all three cable news outlets. CNN ironically aired a Chantix ad during last night's episode of Parts Unknown.
In the wake of two very notable suicides (Bourdain and fashion icon Kate Spade) cable news outlets have taken a remarkably thoughtful approach to covering celebrity suicides, in part out of respect and for the fear of a possible rash of copycat suicides. But nowhere in this coverage has anyone mentioned the possible pharmaceutical effect on increased suicides. We are still early in the reporting around Bourdain's passing, but historically, critics have noted that cable and network news outlets appear to have given pharmaceutical companies a pass on critical coverage.
A recent study by the CDC reports that ''suicide is a major public health issue, accounting for nearly 45,000 deaths in 2016 alone. That is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta decided to take a comprehensive look at suicides from 1999 to 2016.''
Also according to the CDC, more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record. The majority of drug overdose deaths involve an opioid. Since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin) almost quadrupled. From 2000 to 2014 nearly half a million people died from drug overdoses. Those deaths include suicides, the article noted.
Is a quantifiable increase in suicides caused by pharmaceuticals that have a side effect of suicidal thoughts? It's impossible to know for sure, but any civilian who watches cable news can tell you that over the past 20 or so years, there has been a huge increase in Big Pharma marketing advertising, and there is at least some form of correlation between the two.
Yes, America is trying to live better through chemistry, and a known side effect of our broken health care system is an absurd amount of marketing dollars that end up as a rash of advertising on network and cable news. Big Pharma's marketing budget is literally one the biggest hands that feed televised news, but will news outlets bite that hand and speak truth to power?
Seems unlikely.
Colby Hall is the founding editor of Mediaite. Follow him on Twitter.
Bourdain didn't take 'doctor's advice' in depression battle, says Rose McGowan
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 12:40
By Erin Jensen 12 June 2018 '-- 7:13am
Rose McGowan has penned a statement pleading with people not to place blame on others following Anthony Bourdain's suicide.
The message was written on behalf of Asia Argento, Bourdain's girlfriend, who said McGowan wrote the lines at her request.
"On behalf of me and all who are hurting because of this unfathomable loss, I have asked the strongest woman I know, Rose McGowan, to be my voice, to help me shoulder this burden and write truth," she said in a separate statement.
"Please read these words and have mercy on our pain."
McGowan said Argento sat across the table from her as she composed the message, going on to call the Italian actress a "remarkable human and brave survivor."
The chef and TV star was found dead in his hotel room in France on Friday.
Photo: InvisionBourdain and Argento, who joins McGowan as one of dozens of Harvey Weinstein accusers, crossed paths in 2016, when she appeared on his show, Parts Unknown.
"(Argento) stood up to her monster rapist and now she has to stand up to yet another monster, suicide," McGowan wrote. "The suicide of her beloved lover and ally, Anthony Bourdain." Bourdain was a vocal #MeToo advocate, championing Argento's work with the movement.
CNN reported that Bourdain's friend, chef Eric Ripert, found him unresponsive in his hotel room in eastern France Friday where he was filming.
Rose McGowan says Anthony Bourdain had sought help before his death.
Photo: APAccording to McGowan, Bourdain sought help before his death, but "did not take the doctor's advice."
She urged people not to blame Argento. "Do NOT do the sexist thing and burn a woman on the pyre of misplaced blame," she wrote.
"Anthony's internal war was his war, but now she's been left on the battlefield to take the bullets. It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony."
Asia Argento with Anthony Bourdain, in a photo posted to Instagram on May 27.
Photo: InstagramSeveral media outlets reported that Argento had been photographed with someone else in Rome a few days before Bourdain's death, questioning whether the two were still together.
In the statement, McGowan said the pair had "a free relationship."
"They loved without borders of traditional relationships, and they established the parameters of their relationship early on. Asia is a free bird, and so was Anthony."
The statement is a change for McGowan who appeared angry with Bourdain in a tweet Friday that has since been deleted.
"Anthony I am so mad at you," she wrote after learning of his death. "You were so loved, the world is not better without you."
Bourdain's ex-wife, Ottavia Busia-Bourdain, who he was married to from 2007-2016, also spoke out about the loss on Instagram early Monday morning.
She shared a photo of their 11-year-old daughter, Ariane, behind a microphone onstage, clad in studded, knee-high boots. The photo was tagged at the music venue DROM, located in New York City.
"Our little girl had her concert today," she captioned the image, not mentioning Bourdain by name. "She was amazing. So strong and brave.
"She wore the boots you bought her," she added. "I hope you are having a good trip, wherever you are."
Bourdain's mother, Gladys Bourdain, has also spoken out about her son's death. In a phone interview with Today shared on Monday's broadcast, the former editor for The New York Times said there was "Not a one (sign), ever" that something was off.
Gladys, who said the last contact she received from her son came via a Mother's Day email, told the Times that, according to Ripert, "Tony had been in a dark mood these past couple of days." Still, she couldn't fathom why he would end his life.
"He had everything," she told the Times. "Success beyond his wildest dreams. Money beyond his wildest dreams."
Read McGowan's full letter below:
Dear Fellow Humans,
Sitting across from me is the remarkable human and brave survivor, Asia Argento, who has been through more than most could stand, and yet stand she does. She stood up to her monster rapist and now she has to stand up to yet another monster, suicide. The suicide of her beloved lover and ally, Anthony Bourdain. I write these truths because I have been asked to. I know so many around the world thought of Anthony Bourdain as a friend and when a friend dies, it hurts. Many of these people who lost their 'friend' are wanting to lash out and blame. You must not sink to that level. Suicide is a horrible choice, but it is that person's choice.
When Anthony met Asia, it was instant chemistry. They laughed, they loved and he was her rock during the hardships of this last year. Anthony was open with his demons, he even wrote a book about them. In the beginning of their relationship, Anthony told a mutual friend, ''He's never met anyone who wanted to die more than him.'' And through a lot of this last year, Asia did want the pain to stop. But here's the thing, over their time together, thankfully, she did the work to get help, so she could stay alive and live another day for her and her children. Anthony's depression didn't let him, he put down his armor, and that was very much his choice. His decision, not hers. His depression won. Anthony and Asia had a free relationship, they loved without borders of traditional relationships, and they established the parameters of their relationship early on. Asia is a free bird, and so was Anthony. Was. Such a terrible word to write. I've heard from many that the past two years they were together were some of his happiest and that should give us all solace.
Anthony was 61, the same age my father was when he died. My father also suffered from intermittent deep depression, and like Anthony, was part of a ''pull up your bootstraps and march on'' generation. The a ''strong man doesn't ask for help'' generation. I know before Anthony died he reached out for help, and yet he did not take the doctor's advice. And that has led us here, to this tragedy, to this loss, to this world of hurt. Do NOT do the sexist thing and burn a woman on the pyre of misplaced blame. Anthony's internal war was his war, but now she's been left on the battlefield to take the bullets. It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony. We are asking you to be better, to look deeper, to read and learn about mental illness, suicide and depression before you make it worse for survivors by judging that which we do not understand, that which can never fully be understood. Sometimes we are stuck in the unknowable, and that is where we are now, a massive wave of darkness that threatens to swallow everyone in its wake.
As I watch Asia do her job on set today, I see a pillar of strength who continues to work to put food on her children's table. I see Elizabeth Taylor carrying on filming Cat on a Hot Tin Roof despite her love, her husband, dying in a plane crash. I see all of us who have carried on. Please join me in sending healing energy to Anthony on his journey, and to all who've been left behind to journey on without him. There is no one to blame but the stigma of loneliness, the stigma of asking for help, the stigma of mental illness, the stigma of being famous and hurting.
We must do more and be better. Anthony, our friend, would want it that way.
To the media and to the random commenter, Anthony would never have wanted Asia to be hurt, I'd like to think he would want us to have the collective conversation that needs to be had about depression. Blame is NOT a conversation, it is the shutting down of our collective growth. Which is where we are now. We have a choice as humans, shrink to our smaller, uglier selves, or be better and grow as only true Phoenixes can. I urge you to be that Phoenix.
With great sadness and even greater hope, I remain,
Rose McGowan
cc: Asia Argento
If you are considering suicide, reach out. We need you here. You matter. You exist. You count. There is help a phone call away, reach out.
Support is available, for those who may be distressed, by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; beyondblue 1300 224 636; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; Mensline 1300 789 978.
USA Today, Fairfax Media
One-third of US adults may unknowingly use medications that can cause depression | UIC Today
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 18:38
A new study from University of Illinois at Chicago researchers suggests that more than one-third of U.S. adults may be using prescription medications that have the potential to cause depression or increase the risk of suicide, and that because these medications are common and often have nothing to do with depression, patients and health care providers may be unaware of the risk.
The researchers retrospectively analyzed medication use patterns of more than 26,000 adults from 2005 to 2014, which were collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that more than 200 commonly used prescription drugs '-- including hormonal birth control medications, blood pressure and heart medications, proton pump inhibitors, antacids and painkillers '-- have depression or suicide listed as potential side effects.
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study is the first to demonstrate that these drugs were often used concurrently and that concurrent use, called polypharmacy, was associated with a greater likelihood of experiencing depression. Approximately 15 percent of adults who simultaneously used three or more of these medications experienced depression while taking the drugs, compared with just 5 percent for those not using any of the drugs, 7 percent for those using one medication and 9 percent for those taking two drugs simultaneously.
The researchers observed similar results for drugs that listed suicide as a potential side effect. These findings persisted when the researchers excluded anyone using psychotropic medications, considered an indicator of underlying depression unrelated to medication use.
''The take away message of this study is that polypharmacy can lead to depressive symptoms and that patients and health care providers need to be aware of the risk of depression that comes with all kinds of common prescription drugs '-- many of which are also available over the counter,'' said lead author Dima Qato, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy in the UIC College of Pharmacy. ''Many may be surprised to learn that their medications, despite having nothing to do with mood or anxiety or any other condition normally associated with depression, can increase their risk of experiencing depressive symptoms, and may lead to a depression diagnosis.''
Qato notes that the study also shows an important trend of increasing polypharmacy for medications with depression, particularly suicidal symptoms, as a potential adverse effect. This makes the need for awareness of depression as a potential side effect even more pressing.
The researchers found use of any prescription medication with a potential depression adverse effect increased from 35 percent in the 2005 to 2006 period to 38 percent in the 2013 to 2014 period. Approximate use of antacids with potential depression adverse effects, like proton pump inhibitors and H2 antagonists, increased from 5 percent to 10 percent in the same period. Use of three or more drugs concurrently increased from 7 percent to 10 percent, approximately.
For prescription drugs with suicide listed as a potential side effect, usage increased from 17 percent to 24 percent, and use of three or more drugs concurrently increased from 2 percent to 3 percent.
''People are not only increasingly using these medicines alone, but are increasingly using them simultaneously, yet very few of these drugs have warning labels, so until we have public or system-level solutions, it is left up to patients and health care professionals to be aware of the risks,'' Qato said.
Qato says that solutions worth further study may include updating drug safety software to recognize depression as a potential drug-drug interaction, so that health care professionals, including pharmacists, are more likely to notice if a patient is using multiple medications that may increase risk. Or, including evaluation of medication use in the depression screening and diagnostic tools used by doctors and nurses and recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, especially when it comes to persistent or treatment-resistant depression.
''With depression as one of the leading causes of disability and increasing national suicide rates, we need to think innovatively about depression as a public health issue, and this study provides evidence that patterns of medication use should be considered in strategies that seek to eliminate, reduce or minimize the impact of depression in our daily lives,'' Qato said.
Co-authors on the study are Katharine Ozenberger of UIC and Columbia University's Mark Olfson. Qato and Olfson both noted financial disclosures potentially relevant to the study.
Millions are taking drugs, including birth control, that increase the risk of suicide '-- Quartz
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 12:34
Drugs so frequently list ''death'' as a possible side effect that the danger has come to seem unremarkable. Currently, more than one third of Americans are taking drugs that come with an increased risk of depression and'--whether or not they realize it'--patients are feeling the impact.
A paper published today (June 12) in Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed the impact of more than 200 prescription drugs that carry such risks, including hormonal birth control, blood pressure, and heart medications, as well as painkillers. Analysis of surveys of 26,000 American adults from 2005 to 2014, which were collected as part of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, showed that taking multiple such medications dramatically increased the risk.
The research team, led by Dima Qato, professor of pharmacy at the University of Illinois-Chicago, found that roughly 4.7% of those who don't take any medication with depression as a side effect have depression, compared to 6.9% of those who take one such drug, and 15.3% of those who take three or more.
Qato warned that few of the drugs come with warning labels, and so millions of people are likely unaware of the risk. ''Many may be surprised to learn that their medications, despite having nothing to do with mood or anxiety or any other condition normally associated with depression, can increase their risk of experiencing depressive symptoms, and may lead to a depression diagnosis,'' she said in a statement.
Many of the drugs are commonplace and not associated with a risk of depression despite the evidence showing their effects. Earlier research from the same team showed that hormonal birth control is linked with a 70% higher risk of depression (that's relative risk; it means if 10 women not taking the drugs develop depression, then 17 women on the medication will).
The list of potential side effects that accompanies most prescription drug may seem farcically long, and it can be easy to assume that the ill effects won't impact you. But the research shows that even seemingly innocuous drugs can have serious harmful effects.
Betty Boop: Death By Hanging From a Doorknob '-- The Signature of Pedophilia-Related Assassinations? Eleven People So Far '-- Who Knew Doorknobs Could Be So Deadly? '' Public Intelligence Blog
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 12:30
Hung on doorknobs'...means choked for speaking out against the cabal.
According to the Corporate Controlled Media -''Spade hanged herself with ''a scarf on a doorknob'' in one of the bedrooms of their home, reports the New York Post.''
By the way, L'Ren Scott, (former girlfriend of Nate Rothschild), Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington from Linkin Park and Robin Williams'' four other different people '-- all also allegedly committed suicide by hanging themselves from a doorknob with a scarf.
First of All-How high are these doorknobs? Wouldn't your feet and probably your whole body touch the floor? Second of all, what kind of scarves are these? I don't think I have any scarves strong enough to do the job'...'...Is there some suicide scarf collection out there?
I think this trend of hanging oneself on doorknobs with scarves stinks to high heaven. I am having a hard time buying it.
Sounds like some sort of ''calling card'' from the real killers.
https://pagesix.com/'.../kate-spades-suicide-eerily-similar-t'.../
I was curious so I looked it up again. Robin Williams supposedly hanged himself with a tie from his doorknob.
The Queen of the Netherlands sister just ''hung herself'' from her door knob. That particular Queen stepped down after allegations of having ''hunts'' where children were raped and massacred by her dinner guests.
Fashion Designer Alexander McQueen hung himself with a scarf on his closet doorknob.
Aaoron Schwartz hung himself on his doorknob after he hacked into MIT Computers and found a huge stash of Child Pornography.
Michael Hutchence from the band INXS hung himself from his doorknob
Chester Bennington hanged himself with a belt from his doorknob. Chris Cornell hung himself with an elastic workout band tied to a carabiner from the doorknob in his hotel bathroom (Bennington and Cornell were fighting to save kids from High Level Pedophile Sex Rings).
Kate Spade and L'Ren Scott both hung themselves with red scarves from their doorknobs.
Who knew Doorknobs were so deadly?''
https://pagesix.com/2018/06/05/kate-spades-suicide-eerily-similar-to-death-of-lwren-scott/
Published with permission from a source who chooses to remain anonymous.
Phi Beta Iota: One of our experts says that cutting off the bloodstream to the brain for 15 seconds causes a loss of consciousness. There are a number of alleged suicides in Europe that appear to be rooted in light strangulation with two fingers first, then hanging of the victim from the doorknob to complete the job. Murder, not suicide. The combination of the doorknob and the scarf appears to be a signature intended to terrorize others who may be thinking about ratting out the elites above them and known to them.
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Prevalence of Prescription Medications With Depression as a Potential Adverse Effect Among Adults in the United States | Depressive Disorders | JAMA | JAMA Network
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 12:34
Question How frequently do US adults use prescription medications with depression as a potential adverse effect and is use of these medications associated with concurrent depression?
Findings In this cross-sectional US population-based survey study conducted between 2005 and 2014, the estimated overall prevalence of US adults using medications with depression as a potential adverse effect was 37.2%. The adjusted percentage of adults with concurrent depression was higher among those using more concurrent medications (eg, estimated 15% for '‰¥3 medications).
Meaning Use of prescription medications that have depression as a potential adverse effect was common and associated with greater likelihood of concurrent depression.
Importance Prescription medications are increasingly used among adults in the United States and many have a potential for causing depression.
Objectives To characterize use of prescription medications with depression as a potential adverse effect and to assess associations between their use and concurrent depression.
Design, Setting, and Participants Five 2-year cycles (2005-2006 through 2013-2014) of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, representative cross-sectional surveys of US adults aged 18 years or older, were analyzed for use of medications with depression as a potential adverse effect. Multivariable logistic regression examined associations between use of these medications and concurrent depression. Analyses were performed among adults overall, excluding antidepressant users, and among adults treated with antidepressants and with hypertension.
Exposures Prescription medications with depression as a potential adverse effect (listed in Micromedex).
Main Outcomes and Measures Prevalence of any use and concurrent use of medications with a potential to cause depression and prevalence of depression (PHQ-9 score '‰¥10).
Results The study included 26'¯192 adults (mean age, 46.2 years [95% CI, 45.6-46.7]; women, 51.1%) and 7.6% (95% CI, 7.1%-8.2%) reported depression. The overall estimated prevalence of use of medications with depression as an adverse effect was 37.2%, increasing from 35.0% (95% CI, 32.2%-37.9%) in the cycle years 2005 and 2006 to 38.4% (95% CI, 36.5%-40.3%) in 2013 and 2014 (P for trend'‰='‰.03). An estimated 6.9% (95% CI, 6.2%-7.6%) reported use of 3 or more concurrent medications with a potential for depression as an adverse effect in 2005 and 2006 and 9.5% (95% CI, 8.4%-10.7%) reported such use in 2013 and 2014 (P for trend'‰='‰.001). In adjusted analyses excluding users of antidepressants, the number of medications used with depression as possible adverse effects was associated with increased prevalence of concurrent depression. The estimated prevalence of depression was 15% for those reporting use of 3 or more medications with depression as an adverse effect vs 4.7% for those not using such medications (difference, 10.7% [95% CI, 7.2%-14.1%]). These patterns persisted in analyses restricted to adults treated with antidepressants, among hypertensive adults, and after excluding users of any psychotropic medication.
Conclusions and Relevance In this cross-sectional survey study, use of prescription medications that have depression as a potential adverse effect was common. Use of multiple medications was associated with greater likelihood of concurrent depression.
Full Text
Asia and Hugo - Album on Imgur
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 13:24
NOKO
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Trump Kim summit: Two leaders sign document in Singapore - CNNPolitics
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 09:15
Singapore (CNN) Nearly five hours of unprecedented and surreal talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un culminated on Tuesday with fulsome declarations of a new friendship but just vague pledges of nuclear disarmament.
"We both want to do something. We both are going to do something. And we have developed a very special bond. So, people are going to be very impressed. People are going to be very happy," Trump said at the conclusion of the landmark summit during a formal ceremony.
The document he and Kim signed said the North Korean leader "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." In exchange, Trump agreed to "provide security guarantees" to North Korea.
READ: The full agreement signed by Trump and Kim
But there was no mentioning the previous US aim of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization." And Kim's commitments did not appear to go beyond what he already pledged to do in April when he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in along their countries' border.
Tuesday's summit was the result of an extraordinary gamble for both Trump and Kim, the rogue kingdom's despotic leader. Trump hailed the talks as a historic, and personal, achievement.
"We learned a lot about each other and our countries," Trump said after sitting next to Kim and signing the document, which was bound in a leather binder. "I learned he's a very talented man."
He said he would "absolutely" extend an invitation to the White House to Kim, who also heralded a new era.
"Today, we had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind," Kim said through a translator. "The world will see a major change."
Later, during a solo news conference after the summit, Trump said he does indeed "trust" Kim.
"I do," he said when asked by CNN's Jim Acosta if he trusts Kim. "I do. I think he wants to get it done."
Trump also said during the news event that the United States will stop the "war games," an apparent reference to joint military exercises with South Korea that North Korea has long rebuked as provocative.
Trump also said he hopes to eventually withdraw US forces from South Korea, but said "that's not part of the equation right now."
"I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home," Trump said. "But that's not part of the equation right now. I hope it will be eventually."
Trump also said ending the "war games" would save the United States "a tremendous amount of money."
Trump and Kim -- both intent on making history -- greeted each other earlier in the day with extended hands in front of a row of US and North Korean flags, a previously unthinkable sight that reflects a new chapter in the two countries' acrimonious relationship.
Trump's threats to politely walk out of the meeting if his expectations were unmet did not materialize. Instead he predicted he could "solve a big problem, a big dilemma" alongside his new partner.
"Working together, we'll get it taken care of," Trump said.
READ: Road to Singapore: How we got here
The remarks came amid an improbable series of events that few could have anticipated even three months ago. The unlikely images of US and North Korean counterparts engaging in friendly dialogue lent the day an air of unreality. In a detailed menu, the White House said the men were served H¤agen-Dazs vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Other developments also fueled that impression. Minutes before the historic handshake, Trump tweeted that his top economic adviser Larry Kudlow had suffered a heart attack. Immediately after the encounter, Dennis Rodman -- one of the only Americans to have met Kim -- was openly weeping while being interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo.
Even Kim seemed to acknowledge the surreality of the day.
"Many people in the world will think of this as a (inaudible) form of fantasy ... from a science fiction movie," his translator was overheard saying as the two leaders walked down a white-columned colonnade.
The day began with Trump patting Kim on the back and placing his hand on the North Korean's shoulder as they walked into their first meeting. Their body language was openly friendly, a striking warmth given Kim's iron grip on power and dismal record on human rights. Trump's move to meet him attracted fierce criticism for normalizing a regime routinely called out for its human rights abuses, that over years has built an image of fearsome renegade regime, throwing around threats of nuclear war.
It was not clear whether Trump raised those issues during the meetings. When asked if he confronted Kim over the death of Otto Warmbier -- the American who died days after his release from North Korean captivity -- Trump did not respond.
But during his news conference, Trump said Otto Warmbier's death contributed to the summit taking place.
"Without Otto, this would not have happened," Trump said.
When pressed about his comments about Kim's brutal tactics, Trump also praised the North Korean leaders' ability to run a country at a young age.
"He is very talented," Trump said, citing Kim's ability to "take over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and run it, and run it tough."
Kim assumed power after his father Kim Jong Il, also a brutal dictator, died in 2011.
During the summit, Kim -- speaking through an interpreter -- alluded to the longstanding enmity between his country and the United States.
"It has not been easy to come to this point," Kim said, according to a CNN translation of his remarks. "For us, the past has been holding us back and old practices and prejudices have been covering our eyes and ears, but we have been able to overcome everything to arrive here today."
Trump nodded in agreement.
The meeting comes only months after the two men traded nuclear taunts, ratcheting up tensions and leading to fears of war.
Whether nuclear disarmament is indeed the outcome of Tuesday's summit won't be known for years, if not decades. But the dramatic act of extending his hand to one of America's longtime adversaries will forever illustrate Trump's gut-driven, norm-shattering tenure.
After the men shook hands, they repaired inside for one-on-one talks. In that first meeting they were joined only by translators, a break from standard practice of having at least one aide present for high-stakes huddles.
Later in the day, advisers joined the talks for a larger bilateral session and a working lunch. Trump was joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly, national security adviser John Bolton and the US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, who has lent his Korea expertise to the talks.
In the lead-up to the summit, US and North Korean officials were convening contentious final-hour negotiations in a Ritz Carlton hotel here in a bid to narrow gaps on key aspects of the meeting.
It's not clear what the US side has been able to extract from the North Koreans in terms of their willingness to get rid of their nuclear weapons or allow inspectors into the country to catalog the scale of their program.
Trump took keen interest in the pageantry of the day, insisting the pictures beamed around the world reflect a commanding leader making a decisive, world-altering move. At the same time, he'd admitted he doesn't believe he requires extensive preparation to take stock of Kim.
Instead, he told reporters last weekend he would rely on "my touch, my feel" to assess the young and mercurial leader.
On Monday, the White House announced that Trump would depart earlier than expected for Washington. But before he leaves, he'll sit for an interview with his friend, the Fox host Sean Hannity, and convene a media availability for other reporters.
A US official confirmed to CNN Trump's departure was moved up by more than 12 hours because Kim set his own departure for shortly after the summit.
Tuesday's meeting, convened at a luxury hotel on the island of Sentosa, comes just three months after Trump accepted North Korea's invitation for talks on the spot. It was an extraordinarily compressed timeline for the landmark summit, one that left aides scrambling to initiate communication with the hermit nation.
The sides first spoke through intelligence channels, with US analysts working to determine Kim's true willingness to abandon a nuclear program started by his grandfather and viewed by Pyongyang as a security blanket from outside aggressors.
Pompeo, who led the outreach as CIA director, traveled twice to North Korea for preliminary talks. His sessions with Kim amounted to the most robust contact ever between the United States and the North Korean leader, providing critical information about a man about whom little is known.
But a major advancement came in late April when South Korea's Moon met with Kim at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a diplomatic opening that laid the basis for the future engagement with Trump. Moon has pressed for a diplomatic path to east tensions on the peninsula, fearing a more violent alternative.
Talks proceeded at multiple levels, including logistical discussions to allay Kim's fears of being deposed while traveling further afield than he ever has before as the country's leader. The site of the historic talks was a matter of intense speculation before the US President announced on Twitter it would occur here in Singapore, the flashy Southeast Asian city-state that has eagerly accommodated the spectacle.
More than 2,500 journalists have convened here, with each leader's every movement tracked carefully. A day before the summit, Trump mostly remained inside his Shangri-la hotel, emerging only to meet with his Singaporean counterpart at the presidential palace. Later in the day, he met with senior advisers and phoned the leaders of Japan and South Korea.
Kim, meanwhile, was spotted taking a moonlit stroll around the high-end Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino, which is owned by GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. Kim was cheered by onlookers who caught sight of the dictator, who until earlier this spring was not believed to have ever left North Korea as supreme leader.
CNN's Yuli Yang, Sophie Jeong, Yoonjung Seo and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.
Full text of Trump-Kim signed statement - CNNPolitics
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 10:42
Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building cam promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity. The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean PeninsulaThe United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit -- the first in history -- was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in the joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations, led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit.
President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and the security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.
DONALD J. TRUMP President of the United States of America
KIM JONG UN Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
June 12, 2018Sentosa IslandSingapore
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Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula | Reuters
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 12:53
SEOUL (Reuters) - Below is the full joint statement by North and South Korea released by the South Korean presidential office on Friday after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in pledged to work for the ''complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula''. It punctuated a day of smiles and handshakes at the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their meeting at the Peace House at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters During this momentous period of historical transformation on the Korean Peninsula, reflecting the enduring aspiration of the Korean people for peace, prosperity and unification, President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea held an Inter-Korean Summit Meeting at the 'Peace House' at Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.
The two leaders solemnly declared before the 80 million Korean people and the whole world that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.
The two leaders, sharing the firm commitment to bring a swift a swift end to the Cold War relic of longstanding division and confrontation, to boldly approach a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, and to improve and cultivate inter-Korean relations in a more active manner, declared at this historic site of Panmunjom as follows:
1. South and North Korea will reconnect the blood relations of the people and bring forward the future of co-prosperity and unification led by Koreans by facilitating comprehensive and groundbreaking advancement in inter-Korean relations. Improving and cultivating inter-Korean relations is the prevalent desire of the whole nation and the urgent calling of the times that cannot be held back any further.
1) South and North Korea affirmed the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord and agreed to bring forth the watershed moment for the improvement of inter-Korean relations by fully implementing all existing agreements and declarations adopted between the two sides thus far.
2) South and North Korea agreed to hold dialogue and negotiations in various fields including at high level, and to take active measures for the implementation of the agreements reached at the Summit.
3) South and North Korea agreed to establish a joint liaison office with resident representatives of both sides in the Gaeseong region in order to facilitate close consultation between the authorities as well as smooth exchanges and cooperation between the peoples.
4) South and North Korea agreed to encourage more active cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts at all levels in order to rejuvenate the sense of national reconciliation and unity. Between South and North, the two sides will encourage the atmosphere of amity and cooperation by actively staging various joint events on the dates that hold special meaning for both South and North Korea, such as June 15, in which participants from all levels, including central and local governments, parliaments, political parties, and civil organizations, will be involved. On the international front, the two sides agreed to demonstrate their collective wisdom, talents, and solidarity by jointly participating in international sports events such as the 2018 Asian Games.
5) South and North Korea agreed to endeavour to swiftly resolve the humanitarian issues that resulted from the division of the nation, and to convene the Inter-Korean Red Cross Meeting to discuss and solve various issues including the reunion of separated families. In this vein, South and North Korea agreed to proceed with reunion programs for the separated families on the occasion of the National Liberation Day of August 15 this year.
6) South and North Korea agreed to actively implement the projects previously agreed in the 2007 October 4 Declaration, in order to promote balanced economic growth and co-prosperity of the nation. As a first step, the two sides agreed to adopt practical steps towards the connection and modernization of the railways and roads on the eastern transportation corridor as well as between Seoul and Sinuiju for their utilization.
2. South and North Korea will make joint efforts to alleviate the acute military tension and practically eliminate the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula.
1) South and North Korea agreed to completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, including land, air and sea, that are the source of military tension and conflict. In this vein, the two sides agreed to transform the demilitarized zone into a peace zone in a genuine sense by ceasing as of May 2 this year all hostile acts and eliminating their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution of leaflets, in the areas along the Military Demarcation Line.
2) South and North Korea agreed to devise a practical scheme to turn the areas around the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea into a maritime peace zone in order to prevent accidental military clashes and guarantee safe fishing activities.
3) South and North Korea agreed to take various military measures to ensure active mutual cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts. The two sides agreed to hold frequent meetings between military authorities, including the defence Ministers Meeting, in order to immediately discuss and solve military issues that arise between them. In this regard, the two sides agreed to first convene military talks at the rank of general in May.
3. South and North Korea will actively cooperate to establish a permanent and solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. Bringing an end to the current unnatural state of armistice and establishing a robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula is a historical mission that must not be delayed any further.
1) South and North Korea reaffirmed the Non-Aggression Agreement that precludes the use of force in any form against each other, and agreed to strictly adhere to this Agreement.
2) South and North Korea agreed to carry out disarmament in a phased manner, as military tension is alleviated and substantial progress is made in military confidence-building.
3) During this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the Armistice, South and North Korea agreed to actively pursue trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas, the United States and China with a view to declaring an end to the war and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime.
4) South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. South and North Korea shared the view that the measures being initiated by North Korea are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard. South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
The two leaders agreed, through regular meetings and direct telephone conversations, to hold frequent and candid discussions on issues vital to the nation, to strengthen mutual trust and to jointly endeavour to strengthen the positive momentum towards continuous advancement of inter-Korean relations as well as peace, prosperity and unification of the Korean Peninsula.
In this context, President Moon Jae-in agreed to visit Pyongyang this fall.
April 27, 2018
Done in Panmunjom
Moon Jae-in
President
Republic of Korea
Kim Jong Un
Chairman
State Affairs Commission
Democratic People's
Republic of Korea
Reporting by the Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps, Christine Kim, Dahee Kim, Heekyong Yang
North Korea is sitting on $6 trillion-$10 trillion of untapped minerals (gold, iron, rare earth metals) the world wants '-- Quartz
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 13:37
Few think of North Korea as being a prosperous nation. But it is rich in one regard: mineral resources.
Currently North Korea is alarming neighbors with its frequent missile tests, and the US with its attempts to field long-range nuclear missiles that can hit American cities. A sixth nuclear test could be imminent. An attack on the US or its allies would be suicidal, so Pyongyang probably aims to extract ''aid'' from the international community in exchange for dismantling some of its weaponry'--rewind about 10 years to see the last time it pulled off the old ''nuclear blackmail'' trick.
No shortage of minerals. (Quartz)But however much North Korea could extract from other nations that way, the result would pale in comparison to the value of its largely untapped underground resources.
Below the nation's mostly mountainous surface are vast mineral reserves, including iron, gold, magnesite, zinc, copper, limestone, molybdenum, graphite, and more'--all told about 200 kinds of minerals. Also present are large amounts of rare earth metals, which factories in nearby countries need to make smartphones and other high-tech products.
Estimates as to the value of the nation's mineral resources have varied greatly over the years, made difficult by secrecy and lack of access. North Korea itself has made what are likely exaggerated claims about them. According to one estimate from a South Korean state-owned mining company, they're worth over $6 trillion. Another from a South Korean research institute puts the amount closer to $10 trillion.
State of neglectNorth Korea has prioritized its mining sector since the 1970s (pdf, p. 31). But while mining production increased until about 1990'--iron ore production peaked in 1985'--after that it started to decline. A count in 2012 put the number of mines in the country at about 700 (pdf, p. 2). Many, though, have been poorly run and are in a state of neglect. The nation lacks the equipment, expertise, and even basic infrastructure to properly tap into the jackpot that waits in the ground.
In April, Lloyd R. Vasey, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted that:
North Korean mining production has decreased significantly since the early 1990s. It is likely that the average operational rate of existing mine facilities is below 30 per cent of capacity. There is a shortage of mining equipment and North Korea is unable to purchase new equipment due to its dire economic situation, the energy shortage and the age and generally poor condition of the power grid.
Don't expect stable electricity. (NASA, Wikimedia Commons)It doesn't help that private mining is illegal in communist North Korea, as are private enterprises in general (at least technically). Or that the ruling regime, now led by third-generation dictator Kim Jong-un, has been known to, seemingly on a whim, kick out foreign mining companies it's allowed in, or suddenly change the terms of agreements.
Despite all this, the nation is so blessed with underground resources that mining makes up roughly 14% of the economy.
A ''cash cow''China is the sector's main customer. Last September, South Korea's state-run Korea Development Institute said that the mineral trade between North Korea and China remains a ''cash cow'' for Pyongyang despite UN sanctions, and that it accounted for 54% (paywall) of the North's total trade volume to China in the first half of 2016. In 2015 China imported $73 million in iron ore from North Korea, and $680,000 worth of zinc i n the first quarter of this year.
North Korea has been particularly active in coal mining in recent years. In 2015 China imported about $1 billion worth of coal from North Korea. Coal is especially appealing because it can be mined with relatively simple equipment. Large deposits of the stuff are located near major ports and the border with China, making the nation's bad transportation infrastructure less of an issue.
For years Chinese buyers have purchased coal from North Korea at far below the market rate. As of last summer, coal shipments to China accounted for about 40% (paywall) of all North Korean exports. But global demand for coal is declining as alternatives like natural gas and renewables gain momentum, and earlier this year Beijing, in line with UN sanctions, began restricting coal imports from its neighbor.
The sanctions gameAfter North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, the UN began imposing ever stronger sanctions against it. Last year the nation's underground resources became a focus. In November 2016, the UN passed a resolution capping North Korea's coal exports and banning shipments of nickel, copper, zinc, and silver. That followed a resolution in March 2016 banning the export (pdf) of gold, vanadium, titanium, and rare earth metals.
The resolutions targeting the mining sector could hurt the Kim regime. Before they were issued, a 2014 report on the country's mining sector by the United States Geological Survey noted that (pdf, p. 3), ''The mining sector in North Korea is not directly subject to international economic sanctions and is, therefore, the only legal, lucrative source of investment trade available to the country.''
That is no longer the case.
Of course, Pyongyang has grown adept at evading such sanctions, especially through shipping. Glimpses of its covert activities come from occasional interceptions of vessels. Last August Egyptian authorities boarded a ship laden with 2,300 tons (2,087 metric tons) of iron ore heading from North Korea to the Suez Canal (they also found 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades below the ore).
Earlier this year a group of UN experts concluded that North Korea, despite sanctions, continues to export banned minerals. They determined, as well, that North Korea uses another mineral'--gold'--along with cash to ''entirely circumvent the formal financial sector.''
Interested neighborsMeanwhile China's overall trade with North Korea actually increased 37.4% (paywall) in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. Its imports of iron ore from North Korea shot up 270% in January and February from a year ago. Coal dropped 51.6%.
Plenty of iron ore in Musan. (Reuters/John Ruwitch)North Korea's neighbors have long had their eyes on its bonanza of mineral wealth. About five years ago China spent some $10 billion on an infrastructure project near the border with North Korea, primarily to give it easier access to the mineral resources. Conveniently North Korea's largest iron ore deposits, in Musan County, are right by the border. An analysis of satellite images published last October by 38 North, a website affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, showed mining activity was alive and well in the area.
China particularly covets North Korea's rare earth minerals. Pyongyang knows this. It punished Beijing in March by suspending exports of the metals to China in retaliation for the coal trade restrictions.
Meanwhile Russia, which also shares a (smaller) border with North Korea, in 2014 developed plans to overhaul North Korea's rail network in exchange for access to the country's mineral resources. That particular plan lost steam (pdf, p. 8), but the general sentiment is still alive.
But South Korea has its own plans for the mineral resources. It sees them as a way to help pay for reunification (should it finally come to pass), which is expected to take decades and cost hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars. (Germany knows a few things about that.) Overhauling the North's decrepit infrastructure, including the aging railway line, will be part of the enormous bill.
In May, South Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport invited companies to submit bids on possible infrastructure projects in North Korea, especially ones regarding the mining sector. It argued that (paywall) the underground resources could ''cover the expense of repairing the North's poor infrastructure.''
It was, of course, jumping the gun a bit. For now South Korea'--and the world'--is stuck with a bully in the mineral-blessed North.
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Trump, Kim handshake, talk of peace lowers U.S. defense stocks.
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 12:41
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During a marathon press conference, the President said he invited Kim Jong Un to the White House, and that the North Korean dictator accepted. USA TODAY
(FILES) This file photo taken on July 12, 2016 shows the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II taking part in a flying display at the Farnborough Airshow, south west of London. President-elect Donald Trump took aim December 12, 2016 at a second US aerospace giant in as many weeks, this time attacking the F-35 stealth fighter and its "out of control" costs. With a current development and acquisition price tag of $379 billion for a total of 2,443 F-35 aircraft -- most of them destined for the Air Force -- the Lockheed Martin-built plane is the most expensive in history, and costs are set to go higher still. / AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNISADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT: Trump bla ORIG FILE ID: AFP_J26EG (Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS, AFP/Getty Images)
Talk of peace between the U.S. and nuclear-armed North Korea sank defense stocks Tuesday.
While the broad U.S. stock market reaction to the historic agreement between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to establish a new relationship committed to "peace and prosperity" was muted, shares of defense contractors took a dive.
Shares of Raytheon, which makes Patriot and Tomahawk missiles, closed 2.8% lower. Lockheed Martin, which supplies the Pentagon with air and missile defense systems as well as the F-35 Stealth fighter jet, tumbled 1.3%. And Northrop Grumman, which has increased its focus on cyber warfare and missile defense systems more recently, declined 1.5%. Boeing, which makes Apache helicopters and aerial refueling aircraft, dipped 0.1%. General Dynamics, a Navy shipbuilder, fell 1.6%.
By contrast, the Dow Jones industrial average finished the day virtually unchanged with a loss of less than 2 points.
Any political or diplomatic developments that lower the chance of military conflict cools investors interest in defense-focused companies, says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network in Waltham, MA
"If weapons are used they need to be replaced," says McMillan. "That makes war a growth story for these stocks, and one of the big potential growth stories recently has been North Korea," he continued, adding, "What the agreement does, at least for a while, is take military conflict off the table."
While peace overtures between the long-time enemies will put "defense stocks on the defensive" in the short term, investors shouldn't worry about long-term problems for makers of military equipment, explains Gary Kaltbaum, president of Katlbaum Capital Management.
"Funding," he says, will be "plentiful for years to come."
More: Trump says Kim will follow through on denuclearization, despite skepticism
More: U.S. will suspend military drills with South Korea, but they can be restarted quickly
More Money: Regulations and permit headaches keep food trucks from cruising down Easy Street
President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill in March that includes a $160 billion boost in defense spending over two years, "reversing years of decline and unpredictable funding," according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
And thawing relations between the U.S. and North Korea isn't likely to translate into lower defense budgets, Bloomberg Intelligence aerospace analyst George Ferguson noted recently. He expects U.S. military expenditures to continue to rise.
"If North Korea turns from a pariah state to being welcomed in the world community," Ferguson wrote in a recent report, "there are still enough trouble spots that require strong defense spending, supporting revenue and profit growth at prime defense contractors."
** ADVANCE FOR MONDAY FEB. 24 ** A Patriot guidance enhanced missile plus fore, foreground, and Patriot radar system, background, are seen at Raytheon Corp. facility in Andover, Mass., Wednesday, Feb 12, 2003. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki) ORG XMIT: BX106 (Photo: CHITOSE SUZUKI, Associated Press)
U.S.-based defense companies get a large portion of their sales from the Pentagon and U.S. government. Both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, for example, get 70% of their sales from the U.S., according to Bloomberg.
That's likely why the handshake between Trump and Kim that made global headlines, and North Korea reaffirming its plans to work towards "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, has not been a bullish development for defense stocks,
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True or false: the 'kooky' North Korea stories they couldn't make up, but did | Books | The Guardian
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 11:04
I f any country proves sensationalism beats truth in the social media economy, it's North Korea. Sealed off from the outside world since 1953, the country's 24.9 million people exist in an internet-free vacuum, which western bloggers, intelligence agencies and the 24-hour news cycle have been quick to fill.
Facts are notoriously difficult to verify. Credible accounts, such as the 2014 UN report on human rights abuses inside North Korean prisons, vie for eyeballs against the sensationalist claims of defectors, satirists, politically aligned ''experts'' and propaganda emanating from North Korea's own news agency, KCNA.
The habits of former leader Kim Jong-il fuelled a rumour industry worth billions of clicks. A rapacious gourmand with insteps and Eraserhead hair, Dear Leader was both pop icon and ruthless dictator: as known for his love of Cognac and squadron of Joy Division babes as he was for the cunning nuclear brinksmanship with which he dissuaded the Bush administration from dispatching him the same way it had dispatched his ''failed-state'' colleague, Saddam Hussein.
Now, with Kim's son Kim Jong-un in charge, the rumour business is booming. In the past three years, we've learned that Kim 2.0 executed a Pyongyang traffic lady for sneezing (false); was voted 2012's ''sexiest man alive'' (false); poisoned his aunt Kim Kyong-hui (false); assassinated his pop-singer girlfriend Hyon Song-wol for making porn (false); and oversaw the Sony Pictures hack in retaliation for the Kim Jong-un assassination spoof, The Interview (debatable).
When he disappeared for a month in 2014, there was speculation he had been ousted by a coup (false); killed by his generals (false); contracted gout (who knows?); or broken his ankle after growing fat from eating cheese (he does appear to have gained weight).
The malleability of digital media, and the speed with which consumers can embed and reframe North Korean content before passing it on, means even truthful accounts of Kim Jong-un's ruthless moves to shore up his inherited power are frequently embellished. When Kim executed his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, in late 2013 for insubordination, mainstream news feeds reported Jang and five aides had been stripped naked and fed to 120 starving dogs. The story went viral, before it was traced back to a Chinese satirist's blog on Tencent Weibo.
Critical thinking just goes out the window on North Korea
Only this month, South Korea's national intelligence agency reported Kim had publicly obliterated another insider, general Hyon Yong-chol, with an anti-aircraft gun. The story was widely circulated before the agency adjusted its claim: Hyon had been ''purged'' for ''dozing off'' at official events, but might still be alive.
''Critical thinking just goes out the window on North Korea,'' observed Chad O'Carroll, founder of the NK News website. David Straub of Stanford University identifies ''an exponential increase'' in the number of people circulating anything ''even remotely plausible about North Korea'' '' and in established media passing it on. And with consumers happy to buy entertainment as news, ''kooky North Korea'' stories do a roaring trade.
KCNA's 2012 announcement that archaeologists had discovered a unicorn lair in Pyongyang was gleefully circulated by western feeds, complete with a photoshopped horse. In 2014, the ABC on-sold Radio Free Asia's claim that Kim Jong-un's haircut is compulsory for Pyongyang university students; a year later, the blogosphere exploded with a recycled BBC report that long hair is banned in North Korea because it ''saps brain energy''. The Toronto Sun's craziest rumours about North Korea post alleges that North Korean Olympians who fail to win a medal are sent to the gulags, and Pyongyang officials supported Scottish independence ''for the Scotch alone''.
Stories that discredit these rumours are rarely given the same fanfare or weight. The revelation that the YouTube documentary about the Pyongyang traffic lady is fake is buried in the comments page; Kim Jong-un's pop-singer girlfriend's appearance on KCNA a year after reports of her grisly murder failed to reach the same million consumers who believed her dead; North Korean gulag survivor Shin Dong-hyuk's recent admission that parts of his bestselling memoir are false did little to dampen belief in its credibility; and in May, Seoul's Daily NK ran a discreet post contradicting CNN's widely publicised story about Kim Jong-un's poisoned aunt, stating Kyong-hui is alive in Pyongyang.
The truth about North Korea is also a casualty when politics come into play. On 30 December 2014, when independent cyber analysts announced that disgruntled employees, not Kim Jong-un, were behind the Sony hack, the FBI had already found North Korea guilty. Senator John McCain labeled the hack an ''act of war''; Sony released The Interview with President Obama's blessing; North Korea's limited internet capabilities were mysteriously ''blacked out'' in an unattributed strike; and, by 2 January 2015, the US had imposed new sanctions on North Korea and was considering reinstating it as a ''state sponsor of terrorism''.
Why does all this matter? Because if you have been to North Korea and spent time with the people who live and work there, the media's relentlessly recycled picture of North Koreans as brainwashed automatons, robotically enslaved to the despotic Kims, is simplistic, dehumanising and cruel.
I went to North Korea twice in 2012: the only westerner granted total access to the country's powerful propaganda film industry. Despite being closely monitored by five North Koreans on my crew, I can dispel some crazier rumours doing the rounds.
Men are not forced to cut their hair like Kim Jong-un. Women can wear pants. It is safe to be a tourist, if you don't hand out bibles. It is forbidden to film portraits of the Kims soft-focus or cropped. People like to dance in public, not just when told to by the state. The country is poor, but not everyone is starving or in chains: an estimated 100,000 North Koreans are imprisoned, with a further 8.3m lacking adequate food and shelter. The remaining 16.6m rely on a growing black market economy and lead ''normal'' enough lives to go to the movies.
Vice's popular claim that North Korea no longer makes films is false: Pyongyang's five studios produce 20 to 30 rom-coms, thrillers, dramas, animations and documentaries a year. The film stars, directors and writers I met had never heard of Stanley Kubrick, but loved Bend it Like Beckham, The Sound of Music and Avatar. Like their southern cousins, they were resilient, warm and loved telling jokes, mostly about the Russians and Chinese. Resentment towards Kim Jong-un was evident but concealed: criticising him can lead to the gulags.
My book about my experience featured Kim Jong-il on the cover '' until my Pyongyang contact told me to remove him if I wanted my North Korean friends to survive. The Kims are considered too holy to physically depict on screen. A North Korean actor once had plastic surgery to portray founding founder Kim Il-sung in the drama, Star of Korea, then was permanently reassigned to a behind-the-scenes production role. Reports now assert the actor was sent to the gulags. With North Korea, the adage applies: never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
The Director is the Commander by Anna Broinowski is published by Penguin Australia
Atrocities Under Kim Jong-un: Indoctrination, Prison Gulags, Executions - The New York Times
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 10:45
North Korea's defense minister, Hyon Yong-Chol, right, with Kim Jong-un in 2015, the year Mr. Hyon fell asleep in a meeting and was executed by antiaircraft fire for disloyalty. Credit Yonhap/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images With the meeting of President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea on Tuesday in Singapore, human rights groups are watching for Mr. Trump to bring up North Korea's widespread crimes against humanity.
Mr. Kim rules with extreme brutality, making his nation among the worst human rights violators in the world.
In North Korea, these crimes ''entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,'' concluded a 2014 United Nations report that examined North Korea.
Here are some of the atrocities that have happened there.
A network of prison gulagsMany North Koreans live in fear. That is by design, and it is reinforced by the country's ruthless police state.
People accused of political crimes are arrested and sentenced to prison camps without trials, while their families are often kept in the dark about their whereabouts. Up to 120,000 inmates were in the country's four major political prisons in 2014 and were subjected to gruesome conditions, according to the United Nations report.
Prisoners are starved, forced to work, tortured and raped. Reproductive rights are denied through forced abortions and infanticide. Some are executed '-- sometimes in public. Hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have died in the camps over the past 50 years, the United Nations report found.
In addition to the political camps, North Korea also operates prisons for those accused of ordinary crimes. Some prisons are short-term labor camps. Others hold prisoners who face long-term torture, starvation and other suffering.
Mr. Kim's enemies, and family, have been executedSince Mr. Kim assumed power in 2011, taking over from his father, Kim Jong-il, he has consolidated his power through executions. In the first six years as leader, he has ordered the executions of at least 340 people, according to the Institute for National Security Strategy, a think tank arm of the National Intelligence Service.
In 2016, Kim Yong-jin, the deputy premier for education, was killed in front of a firing squad after showing ''disrespectful posture'' in a meeting. Hyon Yong-chol, a general over the armed forces, fell asleep in a meeting. He was executed with an antiaircraft gun.
Family is also not off limits. One of Mr. Kim's uncles, Jang Song-thaek, was convicted of treason. He was then executed with antiaircraft machine guns, and his body incinerated with flamethrowers.
Image Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un's brother, was fatally poisoned at the Kuala Lumpur airport last year. Credit Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press Kim Jong-nam, the estranged brother of the North Korean leader, was killed last year in a very public way: near a check-in counter at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. Two women were seen on security cameras walking up to him and rubbing a substance on his face '-- a chemical warfare agent known as VX, the United States later determined.
Kim Jong-nam was dead within minutes. The women were arrested, but the United States said evidence showed that North Korea was responsible for the attack.
'An all-encompassing indoctrination machine'Often the first human rights violations Westerners ascribe to North Korea, aside from preventing North Koreans from leaving the country, are the lengths it takes to indoctrinate its citizens.
According to the United Nations report, which was prepared by its Commission of Inquiry and is more than 300 pages long, North Korea ''operates an all-encompassing indoctrination machine that takes root from childhood to propagate an official personality cult and to manufacture absolute obedience'' to Mr. Kim.
Independent thought is bred out and propaganda glorifying the state is plentiful, the report said, as is propaganda intended to ''incite nationalistic hatred toward official enemies'' like Japan and the United States.
Christianity is deemed a 'serious threat'North Korea considers the spread of most religions dangerous, but Christianity is considered a ''particularly serious threat'' because it ''provides a platform for social and political organization and interaction outside the realm of the State,'' according to the United Nations report.
Christians are barred from practicing their religion, and those caught doing so are ''subject to severe punishments,'' the report found. North Korean leaders also conflate Christians with those detained in prison camps, those who try to flee and ''others considered to introduce subversive influences,'' the report stated.
In interviews with The New York Times in 2012, four North Koreans said that they had been warned that the gulag awaited those who spoke to journalists or Christian missionaries. ''If the government finds out I am reading the Bible, I'm dead,'' one woman said.
In its 2018 World Watch List, the Christian group Open Doors ranked North Korea the worst nation in the world for Christians, and in a statement last week, the group called on Christians to take part in 24 hours of prayer and fasting on Monday ahead of the meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim.
'Deliberate starvation' as a play for powerTwo million to three million people were believed to have died during an extended famine in North Korea in the 1990s, The New York Times reported in 1999, around when the country began to recover.
At the time, North Korea used food as a tool to enforce political loyalty, prioritizing its distribution based on who was most useful to the nation's political system, the United Nations report stated.
More recently, the inmate population in North Korea's political prison camps has been culled through ''deliberate starvation,'' the report found, adding that suspects are also starved ''to increase the pressure on them to confess and to incriminate other persons.''
When the 2014 report was conducted, it found that hunger and malnutrition were still widespread problems among the general population, and deaths from starvation continued to be reported.
That prompted the United Nations commission to raise concerns that another mass starvation could occur. ''Laws and policies that violate the right to adequate food and freedom from hunger remain in place,'' the report said.
2 More Arrested in Killing of Kim Jong-un's Half Brother, Malaysia Says - The New York Times
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 10:45
The police refusing to answer questions from the news media after embassy officials from North Korea left the hospital in Kuala Lumpur where the body of Kim Jong-nam was believed to be. Credit Mohd Rasfan/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia '-- Two more people, one of them a woman with an Indonesian passport, were arrested Thursday in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, the Malaysian authorities said as they continued to hunt for conspirators.
The Indonesian, identified as Siti Aishah, 25, is the second woman arrested in the case. Her appearance matches the image of a woman captured in airport surveillance videos, said a statement from Khalid Abu Bakar, the inspector general of police. The police later said in a statement that Ms. Siti's boyfriend, a 26-year-old Malaysian, had been arrested ''to assist in investigations.'' He was identified as Muhammad Farid Bin Jalaluddin.
In Jakarta, an official from Indonesia's Foreign Ministry said that Ms. Siti was an Indonesian citizen. The Indonesian government has asked for access to her so that its embassy employees in Kuala Lumpur can provide legal assistance.
The arrests brought the number of people detained in the case to three. A woman arrested Wednesday was carrying a Vietnamese passport, but it remained unclear whether she was from Vietnam.
The news media in Malaysia reported that the police were looking for four male suspects, suggesting that the plot was more involved than initially indicated. It was unclear whether the Malaysian man arrested Thursday was one of the four.
Kim Jong-nam, 45, was preparing to fly to his home in Macau from Kuala Lumpur on Monday morning when he was attacked and poisoned by two women at Terminal 2 of the international airport, the authorities said.
The attack occurred near the AirAsia counter where Mr. Kim would have been checking in for the flight to Macau. The poison took effect quickly, and he died on the way to a hospital.
While the poisoning of Mr. Kim in a very public place conjured up images of spy movies, the plot appears to have been rather unsophisticated, and the Malaysian police rounded up the first two suspects relatively quickly.
For one, the women appear to have had no getaway car. Photographs from airport surveillance cameras leaked to the local news media show one woman waiting with passengers for a taxi outside the airport.
Unlike at some major airports in Asia, departing passengers do not undergo security screening at the terminal's entrance, and anyone can reach the check-in counters well inside the airport without having to show identification or a ticket.
The authorities were slow to confirm that Mr. Kim was the brother of North Korea's leader and initially identified him as Kim Chol, based on the passport that he was using to fly to Macau.
Malaysia's deputy prime minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, told reporters on Thursday that the passport was one of two Mr. Kim was carrying but that it was authentic. ''Probably this is an undercover document,'' he said.
Even though Mr. Kim lived with his family in Macau, his body will be sent to North Korea at the request of the government in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, the Malaysian news media quoted government officials as saying.
The authorities have said that an autopsy had been completed.
Follow Richard C. Paddock on Twitter @RCPaddock.
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World Report 2017: North Korea | Human Rights Watch
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 10:38
North Korea remains one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world, ruled for seven decades by the Kim family and the Worker's Party of Korea. During his fifth year in power, Kim Jong-Un continued to generate fearful obedience by using public executions, arbitrary detention, and forced labor; tightening travel restrictions to prevent North Koreans from escaping and seeking refuge overseas; and systematically persecuting those with religious contacts inside and outside the country.
A 2014 United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) report on human rights in North Korea stated that systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations committed by the government included murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortion, and other sexual violence, and constituted crimes against humanity.
On December 10, 2015, the UN Security Council discussed North Korea's bleak human rights record as a formal agenda item for the second year in a row, following the COI's recommendations.
On March 23, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning human rights abuses in North Korea. It authorized the creation of a group of independent experts tasked with finding practical ways to hold rights violators in North Korea accountable and recommending practical accountability mechanisms, including the International Criminal Court, to secure truth and justice for victims. Lawyers Sonja Biserko and Sara Hossain joined the panel, supporting Tomas Ojea Quintana, the new special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea.
North Korea has ratified four key international human rights treaties and its constitution includes rights protections. In reality, the government curtails all basic human rights, including freedom of expression, assembly, and association, and freedom to practice religion. It prohibits any organized political opposition, independent media, free trade unions, and independent civil society organizations. Arbitrary arrest, torture in custody, forced labor, and public executions maintain an environment of fear and control.
North Korea discriminates against individuals and their families on political grounds in key areas such as employment, residence, and schooling through ''songbun,'' the country's socio-political classification system that from its creation grouped people into ''loyal,'' ''wavering,'' or ''hostile'' classes. This classification has been restructured several times, but continues to enable the government to privilege or disadvantage people based largely on family background, personal performance, and perceived political loyalty.
However, pervasive corruption enables some room to maneuver around the strictures of the songbun system, even while it burdens people as government officials regularly demand and receive bribes from those seeking permissions, pursuing market activities, or wishing to travel inside or outside the country.
Tighter BorderIn 2016, Kim Jong-Un's government increased efforts to stop North Koreans from crossing into China without permission. Some tactics included building barbed-wire fences on the northern border; persecuting those caught in North Korea using Chinese cellphones to communicate with people in China or South Korea; and increasing efforts to block Chinese cell phone services near the border.
Both North Korea and China have increased patrols and established barriers to crossing the border. The Chinese and North Korean governments have also targeted and broken up broker networks in China, meaning fewer people are willing to guide North Koreans on the arduous journey to escape through China.
China is a state party to the Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 protocol, but it considers all North Koreans in China to be ''illegal aliens'' and routinely repatriates them without consideration of their claim to asylum. Human Rights Watch believes all North Koreans fleeing into China should be considered refugees, whatever their motivation for flight, because of the certain prospect of severe punishment if they are returned.
Fleeing North Korean women are frequently forced into marriages with Chinese men, or into the sex trade. Even if they have lived in China for years, they face possible arrest and repatriation at any time. Many children from these unrecognized marriages lack legal identity or access to education or health services in China.
Former security officials who left North Korea told Human Rights Watch that North Koreans handed back by China face interrogation, torture, sexual abuse, and forced labor. North Koreans in exile with contacts inside the country told Human Rights Watch that people caught trying to reach South Korea are treated as enemies of the state, and sent to political prison camps.
Freedom of Expression and Access to InformationAll domestic media and publications are strictly state-controlled, and foreign media allowed inside the country are tightly controlled as well. Internet and international phone calls are heavily monitored.
Unauthorized access to non-state radio, newspapers, or TV broadcasts is severely punished. North Koreans face punishment if they are found with mobile media, such as Chinese mobile phones, SD cards or USBs containing unauthorized videos of foreign news, films, or TV dramas.
Inhumane Treatment in DetentionThe government practices collective punishment for alleged anti-state offenses, effectively enslaving hundreds of thousands of citizens, including children, in prison camps and other detention facilities. Detainees face deplorable conditions, sexual coercion and abuse, beatings and torture by guards, and forced labor in dangerous and sometimes deadly conditions.
Those accused of serious political offenses are usually sent to political prison camps, known as kwanliso, operated by North Korea's National Security Agency. These camps are characterized by systematic abuses, including meager rations that imperil health and can lead to starvation, virtually no medical care, lack of proper housing and clothes, regular mistreatment including sexual assault and torture by guards, and public executions. Political prisoners face backbreaking forced labor, including in logging, mining, and agricultural.
UN officials estimate that between 80,000 and 120,000 people are imprisoned in political prison camps.
Those whom authorities suspect of illicitly trading goods from and into China, transporting people to China, and minor political infractions, such as watching or selling South Korean films, may receive lengthy terms in detention facilities known as kyohwaso (correctional, reeducation centers). Detainees there face forced labor, food and medicine shortages, and regular mistreatment by guards.
People suspected of involvement in unauthorized trading schemes involving non-controversial goods, shirking work at state-owned enterprises for more than six months, or those unable to pay bribes to officials for various reasons are sent to work in short-term forced labor detention facilities (rodong danryeondae, literally labor training centers). Beatings are common in these facilities, and dangerous working conditions purportedly result in significant numbers of injuries.
Forced LaborThe government systematically uses forced labor from ordinary citizens to control its people and sustain its economy. A significant majority of North Koreans must perform unpaid labor at some point in their lives.
Former North Korean students who left the country told Human Rights Watch that their schools forced them to work for free on farms twice a year, for one month at a time, during ploughing and seeding time, and again at harvest time. A former school teacher who escaped North Korea in 2014 said his school forced its students (aged between 10 and 16) to work every day to generate funds to pay government officials, maintain the school, and make a profit.
Ordinary North Korean workers, both men and unmarried women, are required to work at government-assigned enterprises. Although they are theoretically entitled to a salary, they usually are not compensated. All North Korean families also have to send one family member for at least two hours per day, six days a week, to support local government construction or public beautification projects, like building structures, fixing roads, collecting raw materials like crushed stone, or cleaning public areas.
The government launched a 70-day ''battle'' to prepare for North Korea's most important political event in 36 years, the 7th Korean Workers Party Congress, which took place between May 6 to 10. The government forced people across the country to produce more goods and crops in order to cover the costs of the congress. Posters, billboards, and media broadcasts demanded that North Koreans complete their ''battle plans,'' and counted down the days until the congress opened.
Labor RightsNorth Korea is one of the few nations in the world that has not joined the International Labour Organization. Workers are systematically denied freedom of association and the right to organize and collectively bargain.
Since Kim Jong-Un's rise to power, the government has sent more workers overseas to earn foreign currency salaries, most of which the government seizes. Although the country does not release official data, some observers estimate that more than 100,000 North Koreans worked overseas in 2015.
The treatment of North Korean workers overseas falls short of international labor standards, with no right to freedom of association or expression, control by minders who limit freedom of movement and access to information from the outside world, long working hours and no right to refuse overtime.
Key International ActorsJapan continues to demand the return of 12 Japanese citizens whom North Korea abducted in the 1970s and 1980s. Some Japanese civil society groups insist the number of abductees is much higher.
South Korea has also stepped up its demands for the return of its citizens, hundreds of whom were reportedly abducted during the decades after the Korean War. The North Korean government has also kidnapped individuals from China, Thailand, Europe, and the Middle East.
On February 10, the South Korean government closed down the Kaesung Industrial Complex (KIC), a special joint venture industrial zone at the southern border of North Korea. In March, South Korea passed the North Korean Human Rights Act, to improve human rights and provide humanitarian aid for current and former North Korean citizens.
In July 2016, US President Barack Obama imposed targeted sanctions for human rights abuses on five institutions and ten North Koreans, including Kim Jong-Un. The list included individuals responsible for hunting down North Korean escapees, and running labor and political prison camps.
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EduTainment
Google vs Apple in K12
On
your last episode I heard you talking about Chromebooks and education. I
completely agree that these chrome books are being used to take over the school
system and get more students into the “google world”, but it goes a step
farther. Many school systems, including universities are switching from hosting
their own servers, or Microsoft servers for mail, calendar, etc. to Google’s G
Suite. Sure its great for IT since everything is google managed, but like you
said make “google slaves” from a very young age.
Apple
does have educational products, our new 6th gen iPad with pencil support is
very cheap and targeted right at education market. We have some apps like
Classroom which make it very easy to manage students iPads while in the
classroom, and even has a “sign in” mode on the iPads if the school doesn’t
want to do a one to one program. Although google makes it very hard when they
just throw free stuff at schools with the intent to harvest all the data they
can from students, because of Apples stance on privacy it makes it more
difficult to give away free stuff to schools. Like I said we are marketing our
6th gen iPad toward k-12, our keynote for it was even at a school in Chicago,
and we worked with Logitec to make a cheaper and more durable stylus called the
Crayon that uses the same technology as our Pencil.
As
for why it doesn’t seem like Apple is in education, its not for a lack of
trying. We are in an age where desktops are going away and more learning is
happening in the classroom, or outside, not in a computer lab. So while Macs
are great for computer labs, many schools don’t want to buy a bunch of MacBooks
when they basically get handed chrome books at no cost.
As
far as the textbook free schools, I cannot speak much to what google is doing, but
at Apple we aren’t pushing to get rid of textbooks, rather use interactive
textbooks on the iPad. Textbooks are very useful, but are very heavy and cannot
be updated without the school buying a new set, meaning some schools may be
teaching with very outdated textbooks.
No Google in Myanmar producer Joshua
Hey Adam,
When you and John started discussing Chromebooks used to
educate children it resonated with me as I have been setting up computer labs
in rural Myanmar for a couple of years now. I believe that Google is the new
Microsoft. By that I mean I grew up a bit north of Seattle and we had Apple
IIe's but that was the last Apple product. After that it was all Microsoft.
Microsoft gave schools software to get students into their infrastructure and
then these same students would continue to use the products after they got out
of school. I foresee this happening with Google as well.
I have set up 3 computer labs in Myanmar in rural
villages outside of Mandalay. They are comprised completely of Raspberry Pi
3's. There is no INTERNET access in these villages and so an offline content
server is a necessity. Internet in a Box (https://github.com/iiab/iiab)
is what I used for the server.
The entire project and software content is open source.
Some teachers in Myanmar have asked about having Windows on the machines and I
try to give all the positive points and benefits of open source. To me this is
the way forward in education. It is not a $200 Chromebook, it is a $90 desktop
setup with open source software. Give children the choice to understand there
are alternatives to feeding their money to multi billion dollar corporations. I
don't mean to get preachy, I certainly understand that you know all this. While
I was listening to No Agenda I realized that I needed to send you an email. I
just had a pretty big beer as well so my articulation is probably shit, but
please feel free to ask an questions you may have.
I spent 32 days in Myanmar earlier this year and asked as
many people as I could about the Rohingya issue. I'm pretty sure M5M is not
covering it anymore. Interesting what they were covering up when they actually
cared about brown people that don't have much oil.
PBIS From Sir Ryan
Adam,
Sir Ryan checking in from Colorado. Not only am I a middle
school teacher, but I also have a master's degree in curriculum development and
a master's in educational leadership. Through my work I have led school wide
and district wide PBIS teams for several years now.
I can tell you that all schools must hold something called a
"manifestation meeting" which considers if a students misbehavior is
caused by a students disability (which all students basically have). If it is
found that the behavior does come from a disability (which it always is)
that student is not legally allowed to be punished for their behavior.
I can tell you that teachers are going out of their mind
trying to manage a classroom full of kids that feel empowered because they know
their teacher can't legally punish them.
Worse is the implementation of Restorative Justice in schools.
This is a legal philosophy in juvenile criminal justice that is being
bastardized by school administrators to keep problem kids in the classroom and
lower their referral number and suspension rate for students.
Just want you to know that many of us teachers are aware of
the madness and doing all we can to combat it in our own classrooms. Feel free
to share what you would like or reach out if you have an education
question.
ITM,
Sir Ryan Thompson
Teachers having troubles from Lon
Much
love Adam. Sorry.
Info:
PBIS
is a set of tools for schools and teachers to provide behavioral support to
kids based on their needs. It partly came into being because of Federal and
State laws that require EVERY kid to receive an equal education.
So
schools are including kids at all stages of development, from typical to those
with severe behavioral issues in the same environment. This causes schools to
hire psychologists, behavioral staff and PBIS grew out of the need to have some
structure for these new aspect of educational system.
In
the past, most of the challenging kids were relegated to state institutions,
special schools or worse.
We
are seeing parents, teachers and professionals clash over how all kids are
educated, interacting and resources of schools are spent.
It
is very ugly on the front lines with kids caught in the middle of adults
signaling superior parenting privilege.
Lon
Some teachers not on board
Hey Adam and John, I'm a high
school teacher at a PBIS school. From my experience programs such as this
are only minimally implemented because of the systems (mostly the teachers)
resistance to change. The teachers in public education work very
independently from each other and oversight from administration, and tend to
continue teaching according to their own style.
I believe that Marjory
Stoneman Douglas likely pursued PBIS because of the grant funding available to
the school (which is in the 10s of thousands) similarly to their pursuit of
grants related to lowering student crime, and I'm sure many others.
Again, I believe it is unlikely that the PBIS program made
any impact on the school other than monetarily.
As for teaching students how to behave...THIS IS A MAJOR
PROBLEM with many parents completely dropping the ball. It is hard enough
teaching them almost anything, when there is no pressure on the kids from home,
let alone how to behave at school.
Love the show
Ryan
Radio Shack's Demise
I worked for RadioShack for a decade between 99 and
09. When I first started working there you had a stack of books on
various subjects all related to the stock in the store. In your first 90
days you were required to read the books and take an scan-tron read multiple
choice test. You would send the test sheet to Fort Worth were it would
get run through a machine, and then get your results mailed back to the
store. The hardest of these test was 125 or so questions and was the
parts training. Now these tests were open book but you had to look up the
answers the old fashion way and actually read the material. Sometime around
2003-4 they scrapped testing this way and went with a super dumb downed
computer based training, so dumbed down that when you got to the q+a part they
would give you the right answer, you could immediately retake the test
and pass. They scrapped the Parts test, the computer knowledge test and
the A/V test. Prior to computer training, the people who wanted to sell
everything they could had the tools to make them and RadioShack
successful. This is one of the many mistakes that made
RadioShack go under. Some asshole managers, which was a lot of them,
complained about having to fire people who didn’t complete the required
training because it was too hard, and instead of having knowledgeable sale
people they had clerks that couldn’t help out the customer who needed problems
solved. It’s around the same time they scrapped “You’ve got questions,
We’ve got answers”.
If they are going to do this shit to my kids in school, my
son starts Kindergarten next year, I might go the way of Dvorak and home
school.
I just thought you might want an example of shit computer
training that played out to the detriment of a retail chain that was 100 years
old when it fell.
For the best,
Jonny B.
Hearing Instruments
Costco!
EuroLand
New German FM wants 'Europe united' to counter 'America 1st'
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 12:58
BERLIN (AP) '-- Germany's new foreign minister says that Europe's response to U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" strategy should be "Europe United."
In his first major policy speech since taking office, Heiko Maas said the European Union should strive for a "balanced partnership" with the United States.
Maas say this means working with Washington where possible, filling voids in areas where the U.S. is withdrawing and pushing back where America is seen as crossing red lines.
Speaking Wednesday in Berlin, Mass said the EU should also increasingly move toward majority and away from unanimous decision-making, which encourages foreign powers to try to split the bloc.
Maas also called for the EU to strengthen its outreach to former Soviet republics, and said Germany and France can be the driving force in reforming Europe.
Fake News
Trust, misinformation, and the declining use of social media for news: Digital News Report 2018 | Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 10:31
The use of social media for news has started to fall in a number of key markets after years of continuous growth, according to the 2018 Digital News Report, published today. The report, which covers 37 countries in five continents, reveals that usage is down six percentage points in the United States, and is also down in the UK and France.
Almost all of the decline is due to a decrease in the discovery, posting, and sharing of news in Facebook. At the same time, there has been a rise in the use of messaging apps for news as consumers look for more private (and less confrontational) spaces to communicate.
WhatsApp is now used for news by around half of the sample of online users in Malaysia (54%) and Brazil (48%) and by around third in Spain (36%) and Turkey (30%).
The 2018 Digital News Report, which is based on an online survey of 74,000 people, includes findings on trust, misinformation - or so-called 'fake news' - television viewing trends, podcasting, adblockers and voice-activated assistants. For the first time the report also includes news literacy, and brand trust.
Main findings:
1. Across all countries, the average level of trust in the news remains relatively stable at 44%, with just over half (51%) agreeing that they trust the news media they themselves use most of the time. By contrast, 34% of respondents say they trust news they find via search, and fewer than a quarter (23%) say they trust the news they find in social media.
2. Over half (54%) agree or strongly agree that they are concerned about what is real and fake on the internet. This is highest in countries like Brazil (85%), Spain (69%), and the United States (64%) where polarised political situations combine with high social media use. It is lowest in Germany (37%) and the Netherlands (30%) where recent elections were largely untroubled by concerns over fake content.
3. Most respondents believe that publishers (75%) and platforms (71%) have the biggest responsibility to fix problems of fake and unreliable news. This is because much of the news they complain about relates to biased or inaccurate news from the mainstream media rather than news that is completely made up or distributed by foreign powers.
4. There is some public appetite for government intervention to stop 'fake news', especially in Europe (60%) and Asia (63%). By contrast, only four in ten Americans (41%) thought that government should do more.
5. For the first time researchers measured news literacy. Those with higher levels of news literacy tend to prefer newspaper brands over TV, and use social media for news very differently from the wider population. They are also more cautious about interventions by governments to deal with misinformation.
6. With Facebook looking to incorporate survey-driven brand trust scores into its algorithms, we reveal in this report the most and least trusted brands in 37 countries based on similar methodologies. We find that brands with a broadcasting background and long heritage tend to be trusted most, with popular newspapers and digital-born brands trusted least.
7. News apps, email newsletters, and mobile notifications continue to gain in importance. But in some countries users are starting to complain they are being bombarded with too many messages. This appears to be partly because of the growth of alerts from aggregators such as Apple News and Upday.
8. The average number of people paying for online news has edged up in many countries, with significant increases coming from Norway (+4 percentage points), Sweden (+6), and Finland (+4). All these countries have a small number of publishers, the majority of whom are relentlessly pursuing a variety of paywall strategies. But in more complex and fragmented markets, there are still many publishers who offer online news for free.
9. Last year's significant increase in subscriptions in the United States (the so-called Trump Bump) has been maintained, while donations and donation-based memberships are emerging as a significant alternative strategy in Spain, and the UK as well as in the United States. These payments are closely linked with political belief and come disproportionately from the young.
10. Privacy concerns have reignited the growth in adblocking software. More than a quarter now block on any device (27%) but that ranges from 42% in Greece to 13% in South Korea.
11. Television remains a critical source of news for many '' but declines in annual audience continue to raise new questions about the future role of public broadcasters and their ability to attract the next generation of viewers.
12. Consumers remain reluctant to view news video within publisher websites and apps. Over half of consumption happens in third-party environments like Facebook and YouTube. Americans and Europeans would like to see fewer online news videos; Asians tend to want more.
13. Podcasts are becoming popular across the world due to better content and easier distribution. They are almost twice as popular in the United States (33%) as they are in the UK (18%). Young people are far more likely to use podcasts than listen to speech radio.
14. Voice-activated digital assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google Home continue to grow rapidly, opening new opportunities for news audio. Usage has more than doubled in the United States, Germany, and the UK with around half of those who have such devices using them for news and information.
Nic Newman is lead author of the Digital News Report
Click here to see the full report.
NAU
U.S., Canada, Mexico Unite Long Enough to Win 2026 World Cup Bid
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 12:02
pursuits
By and June 13, 2018, 6:53 AM EDT Updated on June 13, 2018, 7:11 AM EDT
FIFA selects U.S.-led bid to host soccer tournament in 2026
Group bid beats Morocco to hold expanded soccer competition
The World Cup is coming back to America.
Nations at the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow backed North America's joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup. With a handful of games in Mexico and Canada but the majority in the U.S., the 2026 bid promises the richest and most lucrative tournament in the history of global soccer.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino on June 13.
Photogrtapher: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images
The expanded 2026 men's event, featuring 48 teams for the first time, will be played in 16 different cities -- 10 in the U.S., plus three sites in both Canada and Mexico. The U.S. will host 60 of the 80 matches, including the final, scheduled for MetLife Stadium outside New York City.
''It's a bit emotional for us today,'' Carlos Cordeiro, president of U.S. Soccer, said after the vote. ''The beautiful game transcends borders and cultures. Football today is the only victor, and in that spirit, we wish our Russian hosts and all the teams participating here this month, the very best of luck.''
The winning bid got 134 votes, compared to 65 for Morocco. There was one abstention.
Wednesday's vote, held in Moscow on the eve of this year's tournament, was about much more than just the 2026 host nation. Many in the international community viewed this decision as a reflection of how far FIFA has come after years of scandal and widespread corruption, some of which was tied to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding processes.
FIFA ChangesWhen Gianni Infantino replaced embattled Joseph ''Sepp'' Blatter as president of soccer's governing body in 2016, he acknowledged that the organization was ''in a crisis'' and promised reforms.
The 2026 award is also a victory for many of FIFA's corporate partners, which will have the advantage of more teams and the world's biggest media market. That includes Adidas AG, Dalian Wanda Group, and Coca-Cola Co., as well as NBCUniversal's Telemundo and 21st Century Fox Inc., which have already secured the U.S. Spanish- and English-language broadcasts.
On paper, it was hard to make the case for Morocco. Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are home to a combined 491 million people and two of the world's biggest media markets. All of the proposed stadiums exist already. And perhaps most persuasive, the North American bid promised FIFA a record $11 billion in profit, nearly double the $6.6 billion that governing body expects to earn in the 2022 event in Qatar and more than double the $5 billion estimated by Morocco.
But these votes are often about much more than stadiums, infrastructure and even profit.
Small ConcessionsEvery one of FIFA's 200-plus members holds a single vote, and regions tend to vote in blocks. That means the 31-member Caribbean federation has three times the voting power of South America, which includes soccer powers Brazil and Argentina.
Large votes are often swayed by small concessions promised to the right number of smaller nations or by regional biases. Morocco's bid, for example, received vocal support from France and a large contingent of Middle Eastern and North African nations.
Eight years ago, the U.S. was in a similar position, when it bid for the 2022 tournament. Competing against South Korea, Japan, Australia and Qatar, the U.S. seemed like the obvious choice given its existing stadiums and geo-political standing. Former president Bill Clinton and other celebrities spent nearly two years campaigning and the U.S. still lost to Qatar.
Blistering SummersThe event has since been moved to November to avoid Qatar's blistering summer temperatures, bribery accusations abound, and potential human rights violations at the stadium sites have caused outrage from the international community.
The money promised by the North American bid will be a strong boost to FIFA. The Switzerland-based organization reports its revenue in four-year cycles, and most recently claimed $5.7 billion for the cycle culminating in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The tumultuous last four years, plus the controversy over Russia, has made the 2015-18 cycle a ''tougher sell,'' according to Nielsen, and the next four years leading up to the Qatar event might be equally rough. Citing a number of high-profile sponsors dropping FIFA, London newspaper The Independent reported that FIFA's 2018 World Cup sponsorship revenues were down $240 million.
The U.S. last hosted the World Cup in 1994, an event that eventually gave rise to Major League Soccer, now in its 23rd season. The 3.6 million attendees remain a World Cup record, despite the fact that only 24 nations competed at the time. Mexico hosted the World Cup in 1986; Canada never has.
Typically, the host nation gets an automatic berth in the World Cup. It's not clear how that would work with three countries as co-hosts. Mexico has played in every World Cup since 1990. Canada qualified once, in 1986. The U.S. team failed to qualify this year.
'-- With assistance by Ira Boudway, and Jake Rudnitsky
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE
OTG
Repo producer on remote cut off of cars
Hey
guys, i love the show and ive been listening since the spring of 2016. I found
it when i searched "conspiracy theories" in my podcast app search
engine.
Adam
mentioned one time "they" being able to turn your car off. They
already can. I reposess cars for money right now and ive had cars that are
turned off by finance companies. It must be in their contracts. We also get
cars by gps sometimes, again depends on their contract with their financer.
Also, we as a company drive around vehicles with plate scanners on them
searching for repos. Every tag we scan is added to a database with a timestamp,
photo, and 8 digit grid coordinates, year make and model, and owner info if its
a repo. I like it for work, but i think its terrifying at the same time.
The 18 things you may not realise Facebook knows about you | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 22:07
The creepy ways Facebook spies on its users have been detailed in a bumper document presented to Congress.
They include tracking mouse movements, logging battery levels and monitoring devices close to a user that are on the same network.
The 454-page report was created in response to questions Mark Zuckerberg was asked during his appearance before Congress in April.
Lawmakers gave Zuckerberg a public grilling over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but he failed to answer many of their queries.
The new report is Facebook's attempt to address their questions, although it sheds little new light on the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
However, it does contain multiple disclosures about the way Facebook collects data.
Some are unsurprising, such as the time people spend on Facebook, while others may come as a shock to the majority of users.
Scroll down for video
Creepy methods used by Facebook to track its users have been revealed in a bumper document presented to Congress by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, pictured during testimony to the US legislature in April
Device informationFacebook tracks what device you are using to access the network.
To do this, it will log the hardware manufacturer of your smartphone, connected television, tablet, computer, or other internet-connected devices.
Facebook also tracks the operating system, software versions and web browser.
If you're using a smartphone, it will keep a record of the mobile carrier, while internet service providers (ISPs) will be stored for users using a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection to access Facebook.
In some cases, it will monitor devices that are using the same network as you.
'Facebook's services inherently operate on a cross-device basis: understanding when people use our services across multiple devices helps us provide the same personalized experience wherever people use Facebook,' the firm wrote in the lengthy document.
According to Facebook, this is done, for example, 'to ensure that a person's News Feed or profile contains the same content whether they access our services on their mobile phone or in a desktop computer's web browser.'
Facebook also says this information is used to curate more personalized ads.
Mouse movementsFacebook watches the movements of your computer mouse on-screen when you are interacting with the social network.
According to the company, this type of information 'can help distinguish humans from bots.'
App and file namesTracking the app you use to interact with Facebook helps the company learn the types of devices you favour.
Facebook keeps a note of the file names in your system for the same reason.
This data is synced with your profile, and will influence the types of advertisements you see when you launch Facebook.
Device operationsFacebook wants to learn about how you use its social network.
To do so, it records whether you keep your Facebook browser window at the foreground of your computer screen '' or whether you tend to leave it in the background, hidden behind other windows.
Facebook also watches the 'operations and behaviours performed on the device' while you're active on the social network.
'We collect information about how you use our Products, such as the types of content you view or engage with; the features you use; the actions you take; the people or accounts you interact with; and the time, frequency and duration of your activities,' Facebook says.
'For example, we log when you're using and have last used our Products, and what posts, videos, and other content you view on our Products.
'We also collect information about how you use features like our camera.'
Device connections The social network monitors a slew of different connections from your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or smart TV.
It monitors the signal strength of your mobile data connection (if you're using one), Bluetooth signals, and information about the nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers.
This data can be used to establish whether you typically use Facebook in one particular location, or when you're on-the-move.
Nearby access points, beacons and cell towers can also be used to work out a rough location for the users, which Facebook can use to tailor search results and adverts.
Devices that are nearby Facebook admits that it gathers information about other devices that are nearby or on the same Wi-Fi network when you login or open the app.
The Menlo Park-based company says it tracks this data to help users perform tasks that require multiple devices, like streaming a video from their phone to their TV.
'We collect information from and about the computers, phones, connected TVs and other web-connected devices our users use that integrate with our Products, and we combine this information across a user's different devices,' Facebook said.
This is yet another part of the company's effort to create a more personalized Facebook experience, according to the firm.
'To create personalized Products that are unique and relevant to them, we use their connections, preferences, interests and activities based on the data we collect and learn from them and others (including any data with special protections they choose to provide)' Facebook says.
This means they also log 'how they use and interact with our Products; and the people, places, or things they're connected to and interested in on and off our Products,' the firm says.
Battery level Battery level of your device is being monitored by Facebook.
The company says it tracks 'hardware changes' on any devices running its service.
This data could be used to track the impact the Facebook app is having on battery life of the device, however, previous research from Princeton University claimed battery life data alone could be used to track individuals across the web.
WHAT ARE THE 18 METHODS USED BY FACEBOOK TO TRACK USERS REVEALED IN LETTERS TO CONGRESS?1. 'Device information' from 'computers, phones, connected TVs, and other web-connected devices,' as well as your 'internet service provider or mobile operator'
2. 'Mouse movements', which can help distinguish humans from bots
3. 'App and file names', including the types of files on your devices
4. 'Device operations' such as whether a window running Facebook is 'foregrounded or backgrounded'
5. 'Device signals', including 'nearby Wi-Fi access points, beacons, and cell towers' and 'signal strength' as well as Bluetooth signals
6. 'Other devices that are nearby or on their network'
7. 'Battery level'
8. 'Available storage space'
9. 'Plugins' installed
10. 'Connection speed'
11. 'Purchases' Facebook users make on third-party websites
12. Contact information 'such as an address book' and 'call log or SMS log history' for Android users with these settings synced
13. Information 'about how users use features like our camera'
14. The 'location of a photo or the date a file was created' through the file's metadata
15. 'GPS location, camera, or photo' information found through your device's settings
16. Purchases from third-party data providers as well as other information about your 'online and offline actions'
17. 'Device IDs, and other identifiers, such as from games, apps or accounts users use'
18. 'When others share or comment on a photo of them, send a message to them, or upload, sync or import their contact information' text
Available storage space Facebook keeps track of the available storage space on any device running its app.
The app needs this information to work-out whether it can perform certain functions, like saving an album of photos to the desktop.
Plugins installedAs well as tracking the brand of web browser you're using to access the site, Facebook also keeps tabs on whether you have any plugins installed.
Software plugins, like Ad Blockers, can impede some of the social network's functionality, something it is likely to be monitoring.
Connection speed The document revealed that your device's connection speed is also recorded.
Facebook already has information your mobile carrier and your internet service provider, so it makes sense that it wants to know what speeds you're getting too.
This data is used by Facebook to tailor its targeted advertising.
So, if you experience some frustratingly slow 3G speeds one week, don't be surprised if your News Feed starts to surface adverts for new 4G mobile plans.
Purchases made on third-party websitesFacebook also gathers data from its Facebook Business Tools on third-party websites and mobile apps.
Business Tools include the 'Login with Facebook' and 'Like' buttons seen on other services around the web.
When these are present on a website or app, data about your activities is being recorded and sent back to the social network.
This includes any purchases on third-party sites.
So, if you buy tickets for a band from a site with a Like button on its website, don't be surprised when advertisements for official tour merch starts to show up on Facebook.
As well as purchases, Facebook says it gathers 'information about their device, websites they visit, the ads they see, and how they use their services.'
Contact information Facebook tracks information about the people, accounts, groups, hashtags and pages you connect with on the social network.
This allows the company to work out the contacts you interact with most frequently, so that it can prioritise their content on the News Feed.
Facebook also records additional contact information when you choose to upload, sync or import contacts from a device.
According to the company, this could include 'an address book or call log or SMS log history'.
Facebook says it uses the information to helps users connect with other people they might know on the network.
How users use features like the camera In the 454-page document, Facebook admits: 'We log when users are using and have last used our Products, and what posts, videos and other content users view on our Products. We also collect information about how users use features like our camera.'
Data on how the camera is being used allows Facebook to suggest new features '' like filters, or masks '' that it knows you're not currently using.
But, Facebook insists it does not 'activate, monitor, or capture' microphone or camera data without the user's knowledge and permission.
'Facebook does not engage in these practices or capture data from a microphone or camera without consent,' the firm says
'Of course, we do allow people to take videos on their devices and share those on our platform.'
The location of a photo or the date a file was created Facebook uses location data to tailor the adverts in the News Feed to you.
It sources this data from statuses where you have checked-in, the location on your device when you login to Facebook, and from meta-data stored with photos.
Digital photographs keep a record of the date and time the photo was taken, and more often than not, the location of the camera when the file was created.
This metadata allows Facebook to display the image on a map on the social network.
It also enables Facebook to show them ads from an advertiser that is paying to promote its services in a similar geographical area.
GPS location, camera, or photo' information When you install Facebook on a mobile device for the first time, the social network will request access to your location data.
This data is tacked and used for its targeted advertising.
On iOS, the tracking can be disabled by heading to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Facebook and then toggling the option to Never.
On Android, launch the Facebook app, then Help and Settings > App Settings > Messenger Location Services then uncheck the box marked Location is On.
Purchases from third-party providers in the real-worldAs well as tracking purchases made from third-party websites made online, Facebook keeps an eye on your buying habits in the real-world, too.
In the document, Facebook admits: 'We also receive information about a person's online and offline actions and purchases from third-party data providers who have the rights to provide us with that person's information.'
For example, a business could tell Facebook about a purchase you made in its store.
This data is used to track whether you took action based on an advert that Facebook surfaced for you.
It's also used to try to hone the adverts on Facebook so that they are relevant to you.
Device IDs and other identifiers To help track your activity across different devices, Facebook keeps tabs on a number of different identifiers.
Some of these are unique to you '' like the serial number of your device.
However, other identifiers watched by the social network are more general, including games, apps or accounts users use.
These can help build a better picture of its users, which can in turn by used for targeted adverts.
'We provide advertisers with reports about the kinds of people seeing their ads and how their ads are performing, but we don't share information that personally identifies someone (information such as a person's name or email address that by itself can be used to contact them or identifies who they are) unless they give us permission,' the firm notes.
Photo shares, messages sent, uploads, and imports Facebook also tracks your general usage of its service to not only improve advertising but the design and features on its website in an effort to keep you coming back.
This includes the date and time of your visits to Facebook, the features you used on the social network, what posts, videos and other content you viewed.
Facebook does the same thing for your friends, and friends of friends, to help create a more complete picture of how you interact with the service.
'This can include information about users, such as when others share or comment on a photo of them, send a message to them, or upload, sync or import their contact information,' Facebook states in the 454-page document.
It is also explained in the Terms and Data Policy, which you will have consented to before signing up to the service.
Facebook also took the opportunity to defend some of the more controversial practices employed by the company.
In answering whether the Menlo Park firm ever captures microphone or camera data without a user's knowledge, a spokesman said: 'No, Facebook does not engage in these practices or capture data from a microphone or camera without consent.'
Responding to a question about whether Facebook targets its advertising along racial or religions lines, a spokesman added: 'We offer what we call the multicultural affinity segments, which are groups of people whose activities on Facebook suggest they may be interested in content related to the African American, Asian American, or Hispanic American communities.
'As we explain to advertisers in our tools, these segments are based on people's activities on Facebook, not on race or ethnicity.'
When asked about 'shadow profiles', alleged data tracking of non-Facebook users, a spokesman said: 'Facebook does not create profiles or track website visits for people without a Facebook account.
The firm also confirmed that it automatically logs IP addresses where a user has logged into their Facebook account.
Last week, US lawmakers slammed Zuckerberg, claiming the billionaire lied in his testimony to Congress.
It was revealed that Facebook handed over user data to 60 smartphone manufacturers - including a Chinese company flagged by US intelligence.
It was revealed this week that Facebook handed over user data to 60 smartphone manufacturers - including Chinese company Huawei, which has been flagged by US intelligence. Pictured is the latest flagship smartphone from Huawei, the P20 Pro
The news came just two months after Zuckerberg testified at Capitol Hill following the revelation his company had passed on the data of 87 million users to political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, many without their consent.
Senators criticised the 34-year-old for not disclosing Facebook's secret deals with smartphone companies during the recent testimony.
One lawmaker said Zuckerberg's withholding of key information during the hearing meant it was 'hard to know what's true anymore'.
A huge number of techniques employed by the social network to keep tabs on its more than two billion users are detailed in the more than 229 page dossier. That includes a list of 18 approaches that are likely to come as a surprise to most people who use the site.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pictured testifying to a US House Committee about how the company handles users' private data. The company has since confirmed it shared data with Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei
WHY DID FACEBOOK HAVE DATA DEALS WITH PHONE MAKERS?Facebook has shared user data with phone manufacturers since 2007.
The social network had deals with 60 companies, including a number of household names, like Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Blackberry, and Amazon, which allowed them to access users' social network data with permission.
Facebook says it cut data-sharing deals with hardware manufacturers because it couldn't keep up with demand for its mobile app.
Since almost every handset maker had its own proprietary operating system, Facebook would have needed to build a specific version of the app for each firm.
To solve this problem, Facebook allowed device manufacturers themselves access to user data so they could build the Facebook 'experiences' for their individual platform.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) and his team signed deals with 60 companies, including Microsoft, Samsung, Blackberry, and Amazon, because it was unable to keep up with demand for its mobile app
'In the early days of mobile, the demand for Facebook outpaced our ability to build versions of the product that worked on every phone or operating system,' said Ime Archibong, Facebook VP of Product Partnerships.
'To bridge this gap, we built a set of device-integrated APIs that allowed companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their individual devices or operating systems.'
Facebook says it tightly controlled how companies could use the data available via these APIs.
'Given that these APIs enabled other companies to recreate the Facebook experience, we controlled them tightly from the get-go,' Archibong said.
'These partners signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences.'
Since most modern smartphones run on either iOS or Android, Facebook is able to keep up with the demand.
As such, it recently announcement to developers that it would be winding down access to device-integrated APIs.
According to Archibong, 22 of the partnerships have already ended.
Facebook maintains the deals it cut with smartphone manufacturers, like Huawei, were 'very different' from the type of public interfaces that allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest data on millions of users
WHAT IS THE CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA SCANDAL?Communications firms Cambridge Analytica has offices in London, New York, Washington, as well as Brazil and Malaysia.
The company boasts it can 'find your voters and move them to action' through data-driven campaigns and a team that includes data scientists and behavioural psychologists.
'Within the United States alone, we have played a pivotal role in winning presidential races as well as congressional and state elections,' with data on more than 230 million American voters, Cambridge Analytica claims on its website.
The company profited from a feature that meant apps could ask for permission to access your own data as well as the data of all your Facebook friends.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix (pictured), after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump
This meant the company was able to mine the information of 87 million Facebook users even though just 270,000 people gave them permission to do so.
This was designed to help them create software that can predict and influence voters' choices at the ballot box.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump.
This information is said to have been used to help the Brexit campaign in the UK.
FaceBag congressional response
Mon, 11 Jun 2018 23:48
IMPORTANT -- PLEASE READ DO NOT DETACH United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Washington, D.C. 20510-6125 __________ MEMORANDUM Date of Hearing: April 10, 2018 Hearing: Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data Thank you for your recent testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The testimony you pr ovided was greatly appreciated. Attached are post-hearing questions pertaining to the above-men tioned hearing. As a courtesy, please submit a single document consolidating the posed questio ns followed by your answers for insertion in the prin ted hearing record. Your responses can be e-mailed to Should the committee not receive your response within the time fra me mentioned below or if the committee staffer assigned to t he hearing is not notified of any delay, the committee reserves the right to print the posed questions in the formal hearing record noting your response was not received at the time the record was published. Committee staffer assigned t o the hearing: Phone: Date material should be returned: May 9, 2018. Thank you for your assistance a nd, again, thank you for your testimony.
2 Questions from Chairman Thune Question 1.
Spanish soccer app caught using microphone and GPS to snoop '' TechCrunch
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 11:35
If you've ever found yourself wondering why an app is requesting microphone access when there doesn't seem to be any logical reason why it should need to snoop on the sounds from your surroundings, hold that thought '-- and take a closer look at the T&Cs.
Because it might turn out that spying is exactly what the app makers have in mind.
To wit: La Liga, an app for fans of Spanish soccer which has been discovered using microphone access combined with the precise GPS location of Android users to listen in on people's surroundings during match times '-- in a bid to catch bars that might not have a license to broadcast the match being watched.
As surveillance capitalism goes, it's a fiendishly creative repurposing of your users as, well, unwitting volunteer spies and snitches.
It's also of course terrible human behavior. Behavior that has now garnered La Liga a bunch of one-star reviews for the Android app '-- along the lines of ''this app converts you into a police whistler without you noticing!'' and ''it spies on you via the microphone and GPS. Rubbish. Don't install''.
The snitch feature appears to have surfaced largely as a result of the European Union's new data protection framework, GDPR '-- which requires app makers to explain more precisely what exactly they're doing with people's data. Ergo, La Ligo users started noticing what the app wanted to do and discussing and denouncing it on social media, where it blew up into a trending topic, as El Pais reports.
In a statement on its website responding to the snitch scandal, the league defends its actions writing that it has ''a responsibility to protect the clubs and their fans'' from unlicensed broadcasts being made in public places, claiming that such activity results in the loss of an estimated '‚¬150M annually from the league.
It also specifies that the feature is only deployed in its Android app '-- and claims it has apparently only been active since June 8. It also says it's only used within Spain.
La Liga further claims the spying functionality is used solely for the purpose of detecting unlicensed broadcasts of soccer matches. (According to its explanation of how it works, captured audio is converted locally into an irreversible binary code '-- and it claims ''the content of the recording will never be accessed''.)
A further technical measure implemented to limit how the feature can be used means La Liga only activates the microphone and geolocation of its app users' mobile devices during time slots of matches in which its teams compete. So, tl;dr, the league is only spying on you to a timetable.
It also defends itself by claiming information about the spy and snitch function is provided to users in a transparent manner and people are specifically asked for their consent and can choose not to allow it or to revoke it at any time.
Although, the app's description on the Google Play store does not include among several listed features '-- such as ''live minute-by-minute commentary'' and ''schedules, scores, standings'' and ''real-time notifications and alerts right from kick-off'' '-- 'turning on your microphone to snoop on your surroundings during match times''... Funny that.
According to Google Play store stats the La Liga app has had more than 10M downloads to date.
Service Goat
Send in the goats: Portugal goes low-tech to beat wildfires
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 13:02
MOITA DA GUERRA, Portugal (AP) '-- Unaware that time is short, more than 200 brown-and-white goats slowly munch their way through the thick undergrowth that covers the hills of southern Portugal.
Squinting against the sun's glare, Daniel Fernandes, a 61-year-old goatherd, whistles and makes clicking noises to direct his animals across the ridges where they can fill their bellies on the dense vegetation.
Yet this is not just a pretty pastoral scene. These hungry goats are on the front lines of Portugal's fight against deadly summer wildfires.
The government is hiring this herd, and dozens of others nationwide, as part of its race against the clock to guard rugged parts of the Iberian nation against a repeat of last year's catastrophic wildfires. That includes trying to clean up as much woodland as possible before temperatures rise and the land becomes a tinderbox.
Blazes routinely blacken large areas of forest every year in Portugal. But last year they killed 106 people in what was by far the deadliest summer fire season on record. It was also a wake-up call for authorities, who were slow to react to social trends and a changing climate.
"Last year was when it became patently clear to us that something different had to be done," says Miguel Joao de Freitas, the government's junior minister for forests and rural development. "Prevention is the most urgent requirement, and it has to be done as soon as possible."
It's a mammoth task, and one that has at times been slowed by red tape. But one of the tactics being adopted is a proven winner: Deploying goats as an environmentally-friendly way to prevent wildfires has been done for decades in the United States, especially California and the Pacific Northwest.
With Portugal's peak July 1-Sept. 30 wildfire period just around the corner, the government is enacting a raft of preventive measures. They include using goats and bulldozers to clear woodland 10 meters (33 feet) either side of country roads. Property owners must clear a 50-meter (164-foot) radius around an isolated house, and 100 meters (328 feet) around a hamlet.
Emergency shelters and evacuation routes are being established in villages, and their church bells will now toll when a wildfire approaches.
The government is also upgrading firefighters' response capabilities, hiring 12 water-dumping planes and 41 helicopters. In the peak wildfire period, it promises that more than 10,700 firefighters will be on standby '-- 1,000 more than last year.
But even as Portugal rushes to get ready, experts warn it will likely take years to correct the trends that make the country especially vulnerable.
In recent decades, people have deserted the countryside in droves to pursue a better life in bigger towns and cities. That has left care of the forests in the hands of mostly elderly people who often lack financial resources.
Portuguese farmers often plant long, unbroken stretches of eucalyptus, a fast-growing tree that offers a quick financial return from the country's important paper pulp industry. But eucalyptus also burns like a fire torch. The government is introducing legislation to encourage the planting of more slow-growing native species, such as cork trees, holm oaks or chestnut trees, which are more resilient to flames and can slow the advance of wildfires.
Climate change isn't helping. In the 1980s, Portugal saw its annual average of charred forest come in at less than 75,000 hectares (185,325 acres). Since 2000, that number has grown to more than 150,000 hectares a year, with experts attributing the rise to hotter, drier summers.
The hamlet of Moita da Guerra, in the heart of the Serra do Caldeirao hill range, 250 kilometers (150 miles) south of the capital Lisbon, illustrates some of the challenges. It lies in a thinly populated area only a few kilometers (miles) from the famous beaches that make this Algarve region one of Europe's top vacation destinations.
"There used to be lots of herds around here," Fernandes, the goatherd, says, leaning on his thick walking stick. "Some people have died, some gave up, and young people aren't interested in this."
Fanned by the summer "Nortada" '-- north wind '-- the abundant, waist-high brush here fuels wildfires that race across the hills.
Fernandes and his wife Anita '-- the only two residents left in Moita da Guerra '-- vividly recall a major blaze in 2004 that almost engulfed them. In the end, the flames leapt over them between the treetops and kept going. Their goats were crucial to the family's survival, because they had eaten and trampled down the undergrowth that surrounded their home, starving the flames.
His latest herd is busy on a government-financed mission this year to carve out firebreaks in the Algarve before the hot days of summer arrive.
Still, a lot remains to be done to fend off the threat of wildfires in Portugal '-- a project that experts say will take years.
"Unfortunately, there is no single, game-changing fix to the dilemma Portugal now finds itself in regarding the threat of catastrophic fire," a report published by fire experts in April commented. "Rather, the solution will demand dozens of strategic improvements made in the next several years and possibly over the next decade."
Ottomania
Erdogan Fights to Keep Power as Bloomberg Poll Shows Tight Votes
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 16:08
politics
By June 13, 2018, 12:00 AM EDT Updated on June 13, 2018, 4:39 AM EDT
Poll by Mert Yildiz's Foresight Danismanlik for Bloomberg News
Erdogan leads, but opposition victory within margin of error
Turkey's election this month could go down to the wire, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan facing a tougher battle to cement power or even an upset, according to a poll commissioned by Bloomberg.
Erdogan can win the presidential vote in the first round on June 24 with 50.8 percent support and get the backing of a majority in parliament, the survey by Foresight Danismanlik of 500 people on June 7-11 found. But a surprise victory for the opposition is also within the margin of error.
The key takeaway is that any array of options is possible and the only certainty is that it will be very close. Erdogan and his AK party can't win alone, and in previous elections they got the support of religious conservatives, free-market liberals or Kurds to govern. Now success hinges on how voters identifying as nationalist cast their ballot, the poll found.
The most powerful factor tilting the result in Erdogan's favor is the unwavering devotion to him and his AK party. Very few core supporters can imagine themselves voting for anyone else even as the deterioration of the economy looms large. But nationalists have been deserting their traditional party.
''Erdogan always needed and will need coalitions," said Mert Yildiz, a former senior emerging-markets economist for Roubini Global Economics in London who co-founded Foresight in March 2017. ''Even if Erdogan wins both the parliament and the presidency, political uncertainty is unlikely to end."
Margin of ErrorThe survey is Foresight's first for Bloomberg, and the first of its kind in Turkey. The pollster selected a district based on various demographic and socio-economic characteristics and one that voted in line with the past three election results.
The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points, wider than that of a typical poll because of the smaller sample size. (For more on the methodology, see the end of the story.)
Erdogan's closest opponent for the presidency is Muharrem Ince of the CHP. He polled at 30.1 percent. Ince was followed by pro-Kurdish HDP candidate Selahattin Demirtas, who despite running his campaign from prison, polled at 10.5 percent. Former Interior Minister Meral Aksener of the new Iyi Party polled 8 percent, trailing most expectations.
Should the presidential race go to a second round run-off, Erdogan's lead would be more substantial, the polling showed. The parliamentary vote, though, is more complicated.
Crucially, Demirtas's party also polled above the 10 percent threshold that will allow its deputies to enter parliament and possibly deprive Erdogan of a supportive legislature.
HDP was on course to take 11.7 percent of the vote, compared with just 4.5 percent for the nationalist MHP. Deputies from MHP will enter parliament regardless because of their alliance with Erdogan's AKP, which polled 46 percent. Ince's CHP was on 27.5 percent for the parliamentary vote and Iyi at 9 percent. Both Erdogan and Ince are significantly more popular than their respective political parties.
''Even though Erdogan is likely to win power, the true winner of these elections will be Muharrem Ince," said Foresight, which advises Turkish municipalities and conducts polls on their behalf.
Deteriorating EconomyThe economy is the most pressing concern for voters, with 34.2 percent of respondents saying it's the nation's most important problem. That was followed by 17.7 percent who said terrorism and 13.5 percent who named unemployment.
The vote comes after the lira plunged in value and soaring inflation, making economic performance a liability for Erdogan for the first time in his 15 years leading the country.
Read More: Turkey's Bonds, Lira Slide for a Third Day
The president has unnerved investors with unconventional theories on economic fundamentals and attacks against the central bank. That was exacerbated when, in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London on May 14, Erdogan said he'd look to take greater control of monetary policy after the vote.
But while a plurality of respondents -- 35.9 percent -- said their living standards had gotten worse in the past year, very few of his supporters are likely to turn on him. Only 4.6 percent of AKP voters said they'd vote for Ince.
''Despite the excitement around the opposition parties and candidates' campaigns, none of the candidates can truly steal votes from Erdogan loyalist AKP voters," Foresight said.
What Yildiz said about the methodology:''It's new, something that hasn't been tested before in Turkey. What we did was instead of taking the whole country, we found this tiny little village that has predicted the past three elections closely. You see all colors of Turkey in that little neighborhood. You sample randomly there, and then you can weight the results for the general population. There's a caveat that this is a small neighborhood that might have changed in the past three years, but I don't think it did.''
'-- With assistance by Fercan Yalinkilic
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE
#MeToo
U. launches Title IX investigation into German professor amid student complaints | The Princetonian
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 13:06
The German department has a two-to-one ratio of male to female graduate students.
After two female graduate students in the tiny German department left abruptly last year '-- leaving men to outnumber women two to one '-- student pressure forced administrators to organize a town hall. A third female graduate student was gone by the end of the year.
In the lead-up to the May town hall meeting, all but two of the 21 active graduate students in the department signed a letter in which they expressed concern about inclusivity and the recent departures. Students also circulated an anonymous survey.
Students read some of the responses and summarized the results at the town hall, which lasted around two hours, according to a recording provided to The Daily Princetonian. One response to an open-ended question about departmental climate was particularly stark.
''Female students are subjected to uncomfortable touching from certain faculty and emeritus faculty,'' wrote one student in a response. ''Female students' appearances are often commented on to them and to other graduate students. Students from other departments approach students in the German department to voice these concerns.''
The three female students who left the department told the 'Prince' that the department's treatment of women had affected their work and research and was a key factor in their departure.
The town hall and the student complaints raised the alarm in Nassau Hall, leading the University's Title IX office '-- which investigates claims of sexual harassment '-- to open an investigation into a professor in the department this summer, according to documents seen by the 'Prince.'
Assistant Vice President for Communications Daniel Day declined to comment about whether there are any Title IX investigations, citing that such investigations are confidential.
Professor Michael Jennings, acting chair of the German department, acknowledged the student concerns.
''We have been actively listening to and working with our graduate students to address their concerns,'' Jennings wrote in a statement. ''The department has a variety of responses in the works, such as offering inclusivity workshops. We are committed to providing our students a supportive environment in which to pursue their research and scholarship.''
During the town hall, which was attended by all faculty and nearly every graduate student in the department, two male professors said that a competitive environment was essential. ''Making [classes] artificially protective '... will not serve you well professionally,'' said one of the professors during the town hall.
This account is based on interviews with five current and former graduate students in the German department, as well as a set of internal documents, emails, and recordings they shared with the 'Prince.' These graduate students were granted anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situations they discussed and their fear of retaliation.
One graduate student told the University's Title IX office in writing about a conversation with a department faculty member in which that faculty member had been dismissive of a former student's complaints about sexual harassment.
''It was great when women got the right to speak up about these things, but they immediately turned around and started taking advantage of it,'' said the emeritus faculty member, according to the written account presented to the Title IX office and shared with the 'Prince.'
Still, complaints within the department are not limited to sexual harassment. At the town hall, students summarized the concerns that had been raised in their survey, pointing out an uncomfortable departmental climate, discrimination, and a hostile work environment '-- especially toward women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
In response to a question asking if women are treated differently in the classroom, only one person out of 21 respondents said no. Regarding people of color, nine of 17 respondents said that people of color are treated ''very differently'' or ''differently,'' compared to eight who said they were treated the same as their white peers. Five students expressed severe concern for their personal well-being in open-ended responses on the survey.
Survey respondents also said that professors cut short presentations from female graduate students while allowing presentations of male graduate students to go as long as an hour.
Toward the end of the meeting, after a faculty member said they'd open up the floor to comments, there was a long silence until a female graduate student finally spoke.
''One concern that might explain the silence now is people's discomfort in voicing things when they're not anonymous because of pushback they [might] experience or retaliation,'' she said.
One graduate student told the 'Prince' that before the town hall a professor told her, ''Speaking out will only do you harm.''
Faculty members expressed surprise during the town hall, but also said some of the concerns raised were vague. One female professor thanked the students for speaking up.
''I am struck by and impressed by the way that you have structured the presentations today and the ways in which a certain number of you are speaking for the group and I think that, for me, is meaningful,'' she said during the town hall, adding that she thinks the town hall marked a shift in graduate student culture, which she takes to ''be a very good thing.''
Professor Devin Fore, director of graduate studies, declined to discuss the town hall with the 'Prince.'
''Discussing any details of the town hall would betray the trust of the people who spoke there,'' said Fore in an email. Three other professors in the department did not reply to requests for comment.
In addition to the town hall concerns, graduate students had also drafted a letter back in March where they noted their concerns about inclusivity, the departure of female graduate students, and the hiring of two additional male faculty members.
''This makes both the number of male graduate students and male faculty members twice that of female graduate students and female faculty members,'' the letter stated. The letter called for faculty to release an inclusivity statement that would indicate that inclusive practices are a priority for the department.
Discussions within the department continued over the summer and into this fall.
In late September, Fore emailed graduate students updating them about changes resulting from the spring town hall. The town hall will now become an annual tradition and the department will also host three workshops about inclusivity '-- two over lunch and one day-long event.
Just last week, Jennings introduced new procedures to submit confidential complaints.
''You can be sure that your conversation will be treated as absolutely confidential, and that you will be told immediately whether the information with which you have provided me will be dealt with internally or whether I need to refer you to an office or individual outside the department,'' Jennings wrote in an email to departmental graduate students.
If you have more information regarding the issues raised in this article, please email marciagbrown19@gmail.com. We will not use your name in a story without your permission.
If you would like to speak to a confidential resource, please call SHARE (Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources & Education) at 609-258-3310.
Sexual harassment is rampant in science, landmark report finds
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 12:44
S
exual harassment takes a significant toll on women in academic science and medicine '-- and there's no evidence that current policies are significantly helping to stem the issue, according to a sweeping new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
The report is the product of two years of research into the widespread prevalence of sexual harassment in university and college settings. It found sexual harassment in academia is significantly more common among engineering and medical students than students in non-STEM fields. In one survey, nearly half of female medical students said they had been harassed by faculty or staff.
''Most of that harassment is not the Harvey Weinstein harassment. It's the everyday put-downs, and exclusions, and belittlings. It's all of the ways of making women feel unwelcome,'' said Kathryn Clancy, a member of the committee that produced the report and a University of Illinois anthropologist who has studied sexual harassment in science.
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Victims interviewed for the report said they had skipped professional meetings and social situations, dropped out of research projects, and left jobs, just to avoid harassment. They described being mortified, devastated, and outraged in some cases. Many didn't formally report their harassment, often for fear of retaliation. And some who did said the drawn-out proceedings drained them of precious time and energy to do their work.
''It's not just an everyday experience. It's illegal,'' Clancy said. The report detailed cases of gender harassment, which generally involves hostility, exclusion, or other discrimination based on a person's gender, as well as cases of unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion.
The authors laid out ways to begin to address the issues, including recommending that sexual harassment be treated as a violation of research integrity and urging state and federal lawmakers to consider prohibiting confidentiality agreements when a harasser is sanctioned and reaches a settlement with an employer.
The way ''confidentiality agreements are developed and executed, that enables harassers to move to other institutions,'' said Dr. Paula Johnson, the president of Wellesley College and an author of the report.
The report comes as academia grapples in a new way with the impact of sexual harassment in light of the MeToo movement. On Monday, the Salk Institute announced that Inder Verma, a prominent cancer biologist at the California research center, had resigned after multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Verma stepped down in early May as the editor-in-chief of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
And in October 2015, astronomer Geoff Marcy resigned from University of California, Berkeley, after BuzzFeed revealed that a university investigation had found he had violated the school's sexual harassment policies.
The NASEM report also comes as some scientists are calling on the organization to consider its own policies. Both Verma and Marcy are members of NASEM, which is considered one of the most prestigious professional societies in science and which advises the U.S. government. Members are elected to lifetime terms, and there aren't clear steps in place to remove them for harassment.
''To not do anything about it '... is abominable,'' said BethAnn McLaughlin, a neurology researcher and professor at Vanderbilt University who started a petition urging NASEM to revoke the membership of anyone who's been sanctioned for sexual harassment, retaliation, or assault. Nearly 3,500 people have signed it since early May.
''By removing these individuals from the NAS community, we can begin to repair [the] damage done by these individuals, restore the NAS community to a place of prestige and acknowledge we can and will move forward with a commitment to providing environments that foster scientific discovery,'' the petition reads.
In a May statement, NASEM said it takes sexual harassment seriously '-- and that it has started talking about the ''standards of professional conduct for membership.'' The organization said it would use the newly released report '-- which it commissioned, but was produced by an independent task force '-- to re-examine its own policies.
'Plugging up holes in a sinking ship'Sexual harassment is more likely to happen in workplaces where there are more men in leadership roles, which is the case in academia, the authors of the NASEM report found. It can also start early in a student's career.
Megan Thielking/STAT Source: Consultant Report on the University of Texas System Campus Climate Survey.About 20 percent of female science students and 25 percent of female engineering students, both undergraduate and graduate, said they had been sexually harassed by faculty or staff, according to survey of students commissioned by the report's authors and conducted by the University of Texas system. It was even more common among medical students '-- 47 percent of women in medical school said they'd been sexually harassed by faculty or staff.
Penn State University conducted a similar survey and found even higher rates: 33 percent of undergraduates, 43 percent of graduate students, and 50 percent of medical students reported being sexually harassed by staff or faculty.
Data on how sexual harassment impacts women of color or people with marginalized identities are generally sparse.
There also aren't hard data on how many women leave their institutions or even their fields due to sexual harassment. But there's little doubt it comes with both an emotional and financial cost '-- at a time when significant resources have been invested in efforts to attract women to STEM fields.
Training science professionals is expensive '-- it's estimated that the ''cost'' that goes into educating a person who has just obtained a Ph.D. in STEM fields is as high as $500,000.
Megan Thielking/STAT The prevalence of female students '-- graduate and undergraduate '-- who reported being sexually harassed by faculty or staff. Source: Consultant Report on the University of Texas System Campus Climate Survey. Without a better system for addressing sexual harassment, many women in academia say they're left trying to look out for one another. Clancy said she often gives people advice about what to do when they face sexual harassment, but that does little to address broader, systemic issues in science.
''It's like I'm trying to plug up holes in a sinking ship and I ran out of fingers and toes a long time ago,'' she said.
The foundation to move forwardJohnson and her co-authors said it's critical for colleges to do more than just comply with the laws such as Title IX and Title VII, which have led to policies and procedures that might protects universities but don't do much to stop harassment.
Among their 15 recommendations for employers: hire a diverse staff, including in leadership roles; be more transparent about sexual harassment policies and how misconduct allegations are handled; and better support victims of sexual harassment.
Clancy said encouraging victims to come forward and report harassment does not necessarily cause the behavior to stop or allow them to get back to work.
''Our current reporting mechanisms don't allow that to happen. They're constantly mired in this reporting process, and in the meantime, they're being retaliated against,'' she said.
The authors also suggested colleges could consider breaking up the power structures that can enable sexual harassment.
''So fundamental to academic science engineering and medicine is that adviser-trainee relationship,'' said Johnson. ''But that singular relationship comes with a very specific power dynamic.''
Johnson said there could be ways to diffuse the power that hierarchy gives advisers, perhaps by establishing mentoring networks or changing funding systems so that a trainee isn't fully dependent on a single scientist for her funding.
The report also recommends sexual harassment be treated as a violation of research integrity. The authors acknowledged that notion may invite opposition but said they believed sexual harassment undermines the accountability, good stewardship, and fairness that's supposed to drive science.
Clancy stressed the responsibility to tackle sexual harassment doesn't rest solely on universities '-- scientists have to play a part, too.
''Working hard to create a better environment for your lab is going to lead to your doing better science,'' Clancy said. ''And I think that we've missed out on some amazing discoveries, some really outside-the-box ways of thinking about the world '... because of the people who have been pushed out.''
Reporter, Morning Rounds Writer
Megan writes the Morning Rounds newsletter and covers health and medicine.
Shredded
Crisis at the National Archives | RealClearPolitics
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 13:43
In the middle of directing the difficult task of transferring the historically important records of the Obama administration into the National Archives, the archivist in charge, David Ferriero, ran into a serious problem: A lot of key records are missing.
A first-rate librarian, Ferriero has been driving a much-needed digital overhaul and expansion of the National Archives over the nine years of his appointment. This will greatly improve the ability of digital search locally and remotely, as well as accessing the files themselves.
To support this effort, in 2014 President Obama signed the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments. For the first time electronic government records were placed under the 1950 Federal Records Act. The new law also included updates clarifying "the responsibilities of federal government officials when using non-government email systems" and empowering "the National Archives to safeguard original and classified records from unauthorized removal.'' Additionally, it gives the Archivist of the United States the final authority in determining just what is a government record.
And yet the accumulation of recent congressional testimony has made it clear that the Obama administration itself engaged in the wholesale destruction and ''loss'' of tens of thousands of government records covered under the act as well as the intentional evasion of the government records recording system by engaging in private email exchanges. So far, former President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Lynch and several EPA officials have been named as offenders. The IRS suffered record ''losses'' as well. Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy called it ''an unauthorized private communications system for official business for the patent purpose of defeating federal record-keeping and disclosure laws.''
Clearly, America's National Archives is facing the first major challenge to its historic role in preserving the records of the United States. What good is the National Archives administering a presidential library, like the planned Obama library in Chicago, if it is missing critical records of interest to scholars? And what's to prevent evasion of the entire federal records system by subsequent administrations to suit current politics rather than serve scholars for centuries to come?
The National Archives in Washington has evolved from a few dusty shelves in 1934 to an independent agency with over 40 facilities nationwide. These include field archives, military records, Federal Records Centers, 13 presidential libraries, the Federal Register, and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Its electronic records system alone, which only began in 2008, has already compiled close to 1 billion unique files from over 100 federal agencies totaling well over 400 terrabytes. The archive describes itself as ''the U.S. Government's collection of documents that records important events in American history. '... the Government agency that preserves and maintains these materials and makes them available for research.''
Federal records have solved historical mysteries and provided key information ever since the archive's founding. Adm. Hyman Rickover's investigations there proved his suspicion that the U.S. battleship Maine had not been sunk by a Spanish mine, but rather an explosion caused by careless proximity of gunpowder storage to coal bunkers.
And in my own research, I found a detailed report of the debriefing of Nazi Deputy Reichsfuhrer Rudolf Hess by MI6 the day after he parachuted into Scotland -- a report that was not in the British Archives. It established that in May 1941, over seven months before the Wannsee Conference formalized the Nazis' ''Final Solution,'' Hess had told the British: ''We are exterminating the Jews.'' It established as lies the Allies' claims they only learned about the Holocaust later.
The archive sensibly only collects a fraction of the federal records for its permanent archive. That number varies between 2 percent and 5 percent of the total. That can be a good thing, according to historian Arthur Herman. ''In studying a bureaucracy, too much evidence may be a greater danger than too little,'' he said. ''The amount of material often seems to be inversely proportionate to the value of its evidence.''
And Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph J. Ellis points out that it is not always the record itself that is key: ''Sometimes it is the marginalia. There were 28,000 notations in the John Adams collection that were critical to my interpretation of the relationship between John and Abigail Adams.''
And marginalia may be the key to solving the puzzle of just what the late Sandy Berger, acting as former President Bill Clinton's representative, was destroying during his 2005 trips into the National Archives, where he stuffed papers into his clothing. Berger only got away with this twice before archive personnel kept tabs on him, but the first trips involved as yet uncatalogued material so no one really knows what he took. But there seemed to be copies in the archive of everything they caught him with. And archival libraries dependent upon physical papers are vulnerable.
Every archive in the world suffers attacks, resulting in the theft of its records, the amending or destroying of them, and the archive has had five it knows of since Berger. Digital storage and authentication will be a great help in securing all holdings.
Berger was supposedly reviewing records for a Clinton response to the 9/11 Commission's considerations of mistakes made leading up to the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Dean Emeritus of Boston University Law School Ronald Cass wonders if there was telling marginalia by Clinton or others on some of these documents that were not on the file copies. The Clintons seemed to have a longstanding problem with records, since the disappearance in 1994 and reappearance in 1996 of the subpoenaed Rose Law Firm files in the Clintons' private White House quarters.
Now the National Archives is faced with Hillary Clinton's history-making assault on government records while secretary of state, which Cass describes as fitting a pattern of ''destroy, deny and corrupt the process.'' (This is no doubt why Harvard just awarded her the Radcliffe Medal citing her ''transformative impact on society.'')
How does David Ferriero plan to deal with this unique challenge to his institution? First, it's not just his problem, although he must address the realities of gaps in the record and how it will affect plans for the new Obama presidential library. But will there be penalties for violating the 2014 law? Is it even possible to continue the great tradition of maintaining an authentic record center for the United States that President Franklin Roosevelt founded 83 years ago, if that law is not supported?
Thomas H. Lipscomb is the founding publisher of Times Books. His news reporting has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, New York Sun and other papers. As a digital entrepreneur he has founded and served as CEO of two public companies based upon his patents.
Tarriffs
China-> Canada Steel Connection
I have a good friend who has been trading scrap metals,
of all kinds, for decades. Last time I spoke with Jeff, he explained something
interesting.
He explained that China is mostly prohibited from selling
steel in the US. Instead, all of the transactions and deliveries are brokered
thru Canada and Turkey. Thus changing the origination from China to Canada or
Turkey. There are other countries, around the globe, who do this as well but
not as much.
Thought you might find it interesting.
Have a great day.
John
Canadian Milk protection
ITM Adam!
Candinavian producer
here. The Canadian Dairy Commission is a crown corporation that carefully
controls all manner of dairy production in Canada including;
Licensing of who can
produce milk.
Controlling quotas on
how much milk can be legally produced in Canada.
Monitoring the quality
of milk produced.
The quota system is
interesting in its own right. It's a little like owning a taxi license - once
you own the quota it's yours until you sell. A fixed pool of quota is put out
into the market and a dairyman can bid on how much quota they would like to
purchase. One unit of quota is one kilogram of butterfat per day. Being based
on kilos of butterfat gets around a dairy producing low quality milk and also
accounts for seasonal variation of milk quality. Hot weather decreases milk
production. Feed quality, age of the herd and other stressors also affect milk
quality. Quotas are traded and one unit of quota goes for between 250 to 800
Candinavian dollarettes.
Personally, I think the
whole system is a racket and I prefer the open market approach to most or all
commodities. It makes all dairy products bloody expensive in Canada. Cost for a
gallon of milk US: $3.50 Canada: $6.25 (adjusted for currency exchange).
There are even limits on
how much dairy a private citizen can bring in from the states. See this
page under 'Dairy products'.
Source: my good friend's
family owns a dairy of 500 cows.
73 de VE4PJV
Anti-U.S. consumer boycott? Canadians may find it hard to pull off | Reuters
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 11:53
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadians outraged by U.S. President Donald Trump's attack on their prime minister have called for a consumer boycott targeting the United States, but indignation may be hard to sustain in a nation enamored by U.S. popular culture and larded with American goods.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump approaches Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he arrives at the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo A push for some sort of reprisal in response to Trump's personal attack on Justin Trudeau has gained force since Canada's Parliament on Monday condemned weekend broadsides from its ally amid an escalating trade dispute.
While Trudeau himself has kept a low profile since the U.S. attacks, Canadians incensed on his behalf have zeroed in on a pocketbook response. How better to signal the national wrath than by cutting trade and travel with the United States?
All kinds of targets have been suggested in opinion columns and postings on social media, from companies that sell goods associated with Trump or his family to a broader ban on U.S. vacations. The suggestions come not only in response to the attacks on Trudeau by Trump and his aides, but to the threat of a trade war that could hurt Canada's economy and sideswipe jobs.
''So, if this president insists on punching you in the nose and eating your lunch, why would you continue to pretend he's still a great neighbor and go over to his place to spend your time and money?'' implored an opinion piece in the Toronto Star.
''Empty hotel rooms and campsites send a message.''
Trump called Trudeau ''very dishonest and weak'' and withdrew support for a Group of Seven communique reached at the summit Trudeau hosted in Quebec on Saturday, and White House trade and economic advisers added insults on Sunday.
But while Canadians will fight to a polite death for the right to consume homegrown beef, beer and maple syrup over what they view as inferior American alternatives, any move to mount a broad boycott could be tough going in a country that reveres U.S. popular culture and consumer goods over all others.
People wait outside a Starbucks cafe for passengers arriving at Pearson international airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Helgren ''To suggest Canadians are going to stop drinking Coke and Pepsi is a bit of a stretch, given we are so enmeshed in U.S. consumer culture. A bottom line impact is not likely to occur,'' said pollster Nik Nanos.
''That said, this is going to be a massive headache for U.S. companies doing business in Canada, both from a public relations and consumer relations perspective.''
Canada is the most important market for U.S. goods, importing a total of US$98.9 billion in the first four months of 2018, according the official U.S. data. Canada accepted 18.3 percent of U.S. exports, ahead of Mexico and China, and is the top export market for 35 states.
That means Canadian stores shelves look a lot like U.S. shelves, and Canadians drink Starbucks while wearing Nikes, talking on their iPhones and munching Doritos. U.S. food and entertainment franchises overwhelm domestic offerings, and movie and music hits differ only slightly from across the border.
Underscoring ties that bind the North American neighbors, the United States is the top destination for Canadian vacationers - including hundreds of thousands of retirees who winter in the sun belt. Canadians made 42 million trips to the United States in 2017. Canada's population is 36 million.
While a consumer boycott is a natural first response, it is the wrong decision, said Gabe Batstone, co-chair of the Canadian American Business Council.
''Historically global peace and prosperity have flourished when trade has flourished, so fighting U.S. industrial protectionism with Canadian consumer protectionism makes good copy and little sense,'' Batstone said in an email. ''Cutting off your nose to spite your face is rarely a great strategy.''
Additional reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Tom Brown
Canada targets dumped steel from countries like China with new measures - National | Globalnews.ca
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 14:01
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said repeatedly over the last few weeks that Canada takes the threat posed by foreign steel and aluminum just as seriously as the United States and on Tuesday, announced new measures to prove it.
In a statement shared with reporters Tuesday morning, the Prime Minister's Office said the government is bringing forward new regulations to crack down on countries like China that dump their steel and aluminum in foreign markets at unfairly cheap prices.
READ MORE: Canada also faces threat of dumped Chinese steel, will work with U.S. to prevent threat to jobs: Trudeau
''Canada is a trading nation, and we will not allow North American industries to be hurt or threatened by unfair trade practices, like the diversion of steel and aluminum,'' said Trudeau in the statement.
''Our businesses and workers rely on our integrated industries, and we will take strong action to defend and protect our most important trade relationships. Canada will not be used as a backdoor into other North American markets. Our people have worked hard to be competitive in this global economy, and they deserve a level playing field.''
WATCH BELOW: Trudeau meets with Hamilton steelworkers amid steel tariffs worries
The regulatory changes, listed in the Canada Gazette, will be subject to a 15-day consultation period before going into effect.
The new measures give the Canada Border Services Agency the authority to conduct investigations into companies that try to dodge duties through practices like slightly modifying products or assembling them in Canada.
The agency will also get more flexibility when it comes to calculating the duties that must be paid by taking into account whether the prices charged in the exporter's domestic market are distorted.
READ MORE: Donald Trump warns Canada won't get a break on steel tariffs without 'fair' NAFTA deal
Domestic market prices are used in the process of calculating duties for goods coming into Canada from abroad.
As well, unions will be able to participate in proceedings at venues like the Canadian International Trade Tribunal into whether foreign exports hurt domestic Canadian producers.
The statement also said the government plans to have North American border agency officials meet more often and share more information about what they are doing to enforce the rules.
''We will also urgently undertake a review to make sure our enforcement agencies have all the resources they need to take action on unfair trade,'' the statement reads.
READ MORE: Steel tariffs: Justin Trudeau says move by Trump 'makes no sense,' adds he spoke with president
As well, the government plans to meet more often with officials from the U.S. and Mexico, and participate in new federal-provincial-territorial-stakeholder committees on the issue of dumped steel and aluminum.
On March 1, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would impose a 25 per cent tariff on foreign steel a 10 per cent duty on imported aluminum.
That news sent stock markets tumbling.
Trudeau and his ministers slammed the decision, saying it ''makes no sense'' and was ''absolutely unacceptable.''
But after securing a temporary exemption from the tariffs for Canada, Trudeau switched gears to stress how seriously Canada also views the threat from foreign steel and vowed to work with the U.S. to crack down on countries that try to dump their excess steel and aluminum in North America.
It remains unclear whether Canada will secure a permanent exemption to the tariffs, which Trump has attempted to use as leverage to get both Canada and Mexico to capitulate to his demands in renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
(C) 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Cartoons are Deadly!
Dutch Freedom Party to hold Prophet Mohammad cartoon contest - Europe - Haaretz.com
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:13
Dutch politician Geert Wilders's Freedom Party will hold a competition for cartoons depicting Mohammad.
The party, which has a history of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim statements, announced on Tuesday that it intends to hold the competition in the party's secure offices in Dutch Parliament. The party said the plan has been approved by the Dutch Counter-terrorism Agency NCTV.
Cartoons depicting Mohammad have provoked violent responses from Muslims in the past.
In 2015, Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at the Paris offices of the French secularist satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. In 2005, the publication in a Danish newspaper of a dozen cartoons depicting Mohammad led to violent protests across the Muslim world.
Wilders' Freedom Party is the leading opposition party in parliament after coming in second place in elections last March. He has called for the Koran to be banned, and says Islam is a totalitarian faith.
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"Freedom of speech is threatened, especially for Islam critics," Wilders said in a statement. "We should never accept that. Freedom of speech is our most important freedom."
American cartoonist Bosch Fawstin, winner of a similar contest in Garland, Texas, in May 2015, has been asked to judge the Dutch contest, which will be held later this year.
'
PedoBear
DOJ arrests thousands of child sex offenders during nationwide o - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:13
WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that more than 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders were arrested during a three-month, nationwide operation conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces. The task forces identified 195 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse.
The 61 task forces across all 50 states are comprised of more than 4,500 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, led the coordinated operation known as "Broken Heart" during the months of March, April and May of this year. Over the span of three months, the task forces investigated 25,200 complaints of technology-facilitated crimes against children.
"No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. "And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production. We at the Department of Justice are determined to strike back against these repugnant crimes. It is shocking and very sad that in this one operation, we have arrested more than 2,300 alleged child predators and investigated some 25,200 sexual abuse complaints. Any would-be criminal should be warned: this Department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimize our children."
Operation Broken Heart targeted suspects who produce, distribute, receive and possess child pornography; engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes; engage in sex trafficking of children; and travel across state lines or to foreign countries and sexually abuse children.
For more information, visit the ICAC Task Force webpage at: https://www.icactaskforce.org/.
DOJ arrests thousands of child sex offenders during nationwide operation DOJ arrests thousands of child sex offenders during nationwide operation Updated: Tuesday, June 12 2018 5:49 PM EDT 2018-06-12 21:49:43 GMT
WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that more than 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders were arrested during a three-month, nationwide operation conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces. The task forces identified 195 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse.
>> WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that more than 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders were arrested during a three-month, nationwide operation conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces. The task forces identified 195 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse.
>> Spokane Transit Authority investigating HR Director's Facebook comments Spokane Transit Authority investigating HR Director's Facebook comments Updated: Tuesday, June 12 2018 8:33 PM EDT 2018-06-13 00:33:46 GMT
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Transit Authority is launching an investigation after the union representing bus workers, called out the Human Resources Director for racist remarks. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1015 President Thomas Leighty says they are concerned with the agency's commitment to being an equal opportunity employer. The comments were brought to the unions attention last week on Facebook.
>> SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Transit Authority is launching an investigation after the union representing bus workers, called out the Human Resources Director for racist remarks. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1015 President Thomas Leighty says they are concerned with the agency's commitment to being an equal opportunity employer. The comments were brought to the unions attention last week on Facebook.
>> Spokane man fed up with brazen neighborhood property crime Spokane man fed up with brazen neighborhood property crime Updated: Wednesday, June 13 2018 2:01 AM EDT 2018-06-13 06:01:50 GMT
SPOKANE, Wash. - One man in Spokane says the crime in his neighborhood just won't quit, and he's saying enough is enough. Even security cameras aren't stopping these thieves. Early Tuesday morning, the man caught thieves breaking into a van and trying to get into two other SUVs. And it's far from the first time he's caught something like this on camera.
>> SPOKANE, Wash. - One man in Spokane says the crime in his neighborhood just won't quit, and he's saying enough is enough. Even security cameras aren't stopping these thieves. Early Tuesday morning, the man caught thieves breaking into a van and trying to get into two other SUVs. And it's far from the first time he's caught something like this on camera.
>> Two US dams at risk of insider threats Two US dams at risk of insider threats Updated: Tuesday, June 12 2018 1:24 PM EDT 2018-06-12 17:24:47 GMT
An inspector general report finds two dams critical to U.S. national security are at high risk for "insider threats" due to poor computer security.
>> An inspector general report finds two dams critical to U.S. national security are at high risk for "insider threats" due to poor computer security. The Monday report does not name the two dams, but they are among five considered "critical infrastructure."
>> Spokane deputies: Minor traffic violations lead to felony drug charges Spokane deputies: Minor traffic violations lead to felony drug charges Updated: Tuesday, June 12 2018 6:11 PM EDT 2018-06-12 22:11:36 GMT
AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. - Two people were arrested Monday night after what started as a minor traffic violation, according to Spokane County Sheriff's deputies. At around 9 p.m., Deputy Brad Humphrey spotted a green Buick parked in the parking lot of the Airway Heights Walmart.
>> AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. - Two people were arrested Monday night after what started as a minor traffic violation, according to Spokane County Sheriff's deputies. At around 9 p.m., Deputy Brad Humphrey spotted a green Buick parked in the parking lot of the Airway Heights Walmart.
>> Body found in Shoshone County identified as missing woman Body found in Shoshone County identified as missing woman Updated: Tuesday, June 12 2018 11:42 AM EDT 2018-06-12 15:42:19 GMT
SHOSHONE COUNTY, Idaho - The Shoshone County Sheriff's office has identified a body found on Saturday in Kingston as missing 60-year-old woman Shannan Souza. Souza went missing on May 25 while she was walking her dog by the river behind the Shoshone County Airport in Smelterville. Souza, from Kellogg, parked her car near the airport.
>> SHOSHONE COUNTY, Idaho - The Shoshone County Sheriff's office has identified a body found on Saturday in Kingston as missing 60-year-old woman Shannan Souza. Souza went missing on May 25 while she was walking her dog by the river behind the Shoshone County Airport in Smelterville. Souza, from Kellogg, parked her car near the airport.
>> HD DOPPLER 6i Trump declares oil prices too high, blames OPEC Trump declares oil prices too high, blames OPEC Updated: Wednesday, June 13 2018 8:46 AM EDT 2018-06-13 12:46:56 GMT
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump is declaring that oil prices are too high and blaming a coalition of countries that control a significant portion of the world's supply of crude petroleum. Trump tweeted on Wednesday: "Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!" Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!
>> WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump is declaring that oil prices are too high and blaming a coalition of countries that control a significant portion of the world's supply of crude petroleum. Trump tweeted on Wednesday: "Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!" Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!
>> Disney releases teaser trailer for 'Dumbo' Disney releases teaser trailer for 'Dumbo' Updated: Wednesday, June 13 2018 8:27 AM EDT 2018-06-13 12:27:22 GMT
LOS ANGELES - Disney has released its first teaser trailer for Tim Burton's remake of the classic "Dumbo." The live-action film stars Danny DeVito, Colin Farrell, Alan Arkin, Eva Green and Micheal Keaton. Originally released in 1941, "Dumbo" is the story about an elephant with big ears who can fly. The trailer features clips of Dumbo taking flight and Norwegian pop star Aurora singing "Baby Mine."
>> LOS ANGELES - Disney has released its first teaser trailer for Tim Burton's remake of the classic "Dumbo." The live-action film stars Danny DeVito, Colin Farrell, Alan Arkin, Eva Green and Micheal Keaton. Originally released in 1941, "Dumbo" is the story about an elephant with big ears who can fly. The trailer features clips of Dumbo taking flight and Norwegian pop star Aurora singing "Baby Mine."
>> North American trio beats Morocco to host 2026 World Cup North American trio beats Morocco to host 2026 World Cup Updated: Wednesday, June 13 2018 8:10 AM EDT 2018-06-13 12:10:14 GMT
MOSCOW - North America will host the 2026 World Cup after FIFA voters overwhelmingly opted for the financial and logistical certainty of a United States-led bid over a risky Moroccan proposal for the first 48-team tournament. The soccer showpiece will return to the U.S. for the first time since 1994 after gaining 134 votes, while Morocco got 65 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday.
>> MOSCOW - North America will host the 2026 World Cup after FIFA voters overwhelmingly opted for the financial and logistical certainty of a United States-led bid over a risky Moroccan proposal for the first 48-team tournament. The soccer showpiece will return to the U.S. for the first time since 1994 after gaining 134 votes, while Morocco got 65 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday.
>> Spokane man fed up with brazen neighborhood property crime Spokane man fed up with brazen neighborhood property crime Updated: Wednesday, June 13 2018 2:01 AM EDT 2018-06-13 06:01:50 GMT
SPOKANE, Wash. - One man in Spokane says the crime in his neighborhood just won't quit, and he's saying enough is enough. Even security cameras aren't stopping these thieves. Early Tuesday morning, the man caught thieves breaking into a van and trying to get into two other SUVs. And it's far from the first time he's caught something like this on camera.
>> SPOKANE, Wash. - One man in Spokane says the crime in his neighborhood just won't quit, and he's saying enough is enough. Even security cameras aren't stopping these thieves. Early Tuesday morning, the man caught thieves breaking into a van and trying to get into two other SUVs. And it's far from the first time he's caught something like this on camera.
>> Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, June 12th Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, June 12th Updated: Wednesday, June 13 2018 1:57 AM EDT 2018-06-13 05:57:03 GMT
Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, June 12th.
>> Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, June 12th.
>> Lawsuit says DOJ not providing documents to ex-FBI official Lawsuit says DOJ not providing documents to ex-FBI official Updated: Wednesday, June 13 2018 1:26 AM EDT 2018-06-13 05:26:18 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) - A lawsuit filed on behalf of a former deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, says the Justice Department has repeatedly refused to provide McCabe documents related to his firing. The complaint filed Tuesday says the Justice Department has publicly defended McCabe's firing yet failed to identify for McCabe the policies and procedures it followed before dismissing him.
>> WASHINGTON (AP) - A lawsuit filed on behalf of a former deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, says the Justice Department has repeatedly refused to provide McCabe documents related to his firing. The complaint filed Tuesday says the Justice Department has publicly defended McCabe's firing yet failed to identify for McCabe the policies and procedures it followed before dismissing him.
>> House Republicans to offer 2 separate bills on immigration House Republicans to offer 2 separate bills on immigration Updated: Wednesday, June 13 2018 1:19 AM EDT 2018-06-13 05:19:21 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans are considering next steps on two immigration bills after GOP leaders persuaded moderate Republicans to drop their renegade effort to force votes on legislation that would have protected young "Dreamer" immigrants with a path to citizenship. Instead, leaders reached a deal with moderates and conservatives that will allow two votes on other bills, starting as soon as next week.
>> WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans are considering next steps on two immigration bills after GOP leaders persuaded moderate Republicans to drop their renegade effort to force votes on legislation that would have protected young "Dreamer" immigrants with a path to citizenship. Instead, leaders reached a deal with moderates and conservatives that will allow two votes on other bills, starting as soon as next week.
>> Money to 'harden' schools draws backlash after shootings Money to 'harden' schools draws backlash after shootings Updated: Wednesday, June 13 2018 12:48 AM EDT 2018-06-13 04:48:37 GMT
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - An alliance of U.S. education groups is expressing shock that the Trump administration would let schools buy metal detectors and extra police through a program Congress has used to defend its response to school shootings.
>> AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - An alliance of U.S. education groups is expressing shock that the Trump administration would let schools buy metal detectors and extra police through a program Congress has used to defend its response to school shootings.
>> Florida auto theft suspect arrested with pet monkey Florida auto theft suspect arrested with pet monkey Updated: Tuesday, June 12 2018 11:29 PM EDT 2018-06-13 03:29:49 GMT
HOLIDAY, Fla. - A man accused of crashing a stolen car into a ditch in Florida was arrested with his pet monkey, named Monk, clinging to his shirt. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office posted body camera video from the arrest last week on their Facebook page. In it, Monk gives the man a hug before he's taken away in a police car.
>> HOLIDAY, Fla. - A man accused of crashing a stolen car into a ditch in Florida was arrested with his pet monkey, named Monk, clinging to his shirt. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office posted body camera video from the arrest last week on their Facebook page. In it, Monk gives the man a hug before he's taken away in a police car.
>> 'Roof, roof!' Dog rescued from overhang roof at his home 'Roof, roof!' Dog rescued from overhang roof at his home Updated: Tuesday, June 12 2018 10:53 PM EDT 2018-06-13 02:53:26 GMT
SPRING LAKE PARK, Minn. (AP) - "Roof! Roof!" He was practically begging to be rescued. Firefighters in the Minneapolis suburb of Spring Lake Park on Friday managed to help a 180-pound (82-kilogram) Saint Bernard named Whiskey who had gotten stuck on the small roof of the overhang at a side door of his home.
>> SPRING LAKE PARK, Minn. (AP) - "Roof! Roof!" He was practically begging to be rescued. Firefighters in the Minneapolis suburb of Spring Lake Park on Friday managed to help a 180-pound (82-kilogram) Saint Bernard named Whiskey who had gotten stuck on the small roof of the overhang at a side door of his home.
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Twitter CEO Caves To Liberal Backlash, Says He Was Wrong To Eat Chick-Fil-A - The Daily Caller
Mon, 11 Jun 2018 10:06
Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Sunday expressed regret over eating at Chick-fil-A, because of the chicken company's CEO's personal views on gay marriage.
Dorsey tweeted a screenshot from his phone that showed a purchase he had made at Chick-fil-A using a mobile application. After a liberal backlash, however, Dorsey apologized for eating at the popular fast food restaurant.
At issue was Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's 2012 support for defining marriage as between a man and a woman, which he described as ''the biblical definition of a family.''
''On behalf of the whole LGBTQ community, Jack, kindly boost your head out of your ass.'' (Screenshot/Twitter)
''Please delete this or follow up with how much free advertising you're going to give GLAAD'' (Screenshot/Twitter)
Former CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien was among those to call out Dorsey for eating at the self-described home of the original chicken sandwich.
O'Brien indicated that Dorsey had sinned by publicly eating at Chick-fil-A during gay pride month. (RELATED: Corporations Becoming New Arbiters Of Public Morality)
''You're right. Completely forgot about their background.'' (Screenshot/Twitter)
''You're right,'' Dorsey conceded. ''Completely forgot about their background.'' (RELATED: Twitter CEO Shares And Raves About Article Calling For Dem Victory In Second 'Civil War')
Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson
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Squashing cyberbullying: New approach is fast, accurate - Scienmag: Latest Science and Health News
Mon, 11 Jun 2018 22:38
Credit: Rahat Ibn RafiqResearchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have designed a new technique for spotting nasty personal attacks on social media networks like Instagram.
The new approach, developed by CU Boulder'sCyberSafety Research Center, combines several different computing tools to scan massive amounts of social media data, sending alerts to parents or network administrators that abuse has occurred.
It's rocket fast, too: In recently published research, the group reported that their approach uses five times less computing resources than existing tools. That's efficient enough to monitor a network the size of Instagram for a modest investment in server power, said study co-author Richard Han.
"The response of the social media networks to fake news has recently started to uptick, even though it took grave consequences to reach that point," said Han, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science. "The response needs to be just as strong for cyberbullying."
The group also released a free app for Android phones that allows parents to receive alerts when their kids are the objects of bullying on Instagram. Study co-author Shivakant Mishra explained that the app, called BullyAlert, can learn from and adapt to what parents consider bullying.
"As parent, I know that a lot of times we are not in full knowledge of what our children are doing on their social networks," said Mishra, a professor in computer science. "An app like this that informs us when something problematic is happening is invaluable."
To build their toolbox, the CyberSafety researchers first employed real humans to teach a computer program how to separate benign online comments from abuse.
Next, the researchers designed a system that works a bit like hospital triage. When a user uploads a new post, the group's tools make a quick scan of the comments. If those comments look questionable, then that post gets high priority to receive further checks. But if the comments all seem charitable, then the system bumps the post to the bottom of its queue.
"Our goal is to focus on the most vulnerable sessions," Han said. "We still continue to monitor all of the sessions, but we monitor more frequently those sessions that we think are more problematic."
And it works: The researchers tested their approach on real-world data from Vine, a now-defunct video-sharing platform, and Instagram. Han explained that the team picked those networks because they make their data publicly available.
In research presented at a conference in April, the group calculated that their toolset could monitor traffic on Vine and Instagram in real-time, detecting cyberbullying behavior with 70 percent accuracy. What's more, the approach could also send up warning flags within two hours after the onset of abuse''a performance unmatched by currently available software.
Rahat Ibn Rafiq, a CU Boulder graduate student in computer science, is the lead author of the new study. Other co-authors include CU Boulder Associate Professor Qin (Christine) Lv and Homa Hosseinmardi of the University of Southern California.
###
Media Contact
Daniel Straindaniel.strain@colorado.edu831-238-3383 @cubouldernews
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Einstein's travel diaries reveal 'shocking' xenophobia | Books | The Guardian
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 23:08
The publication of Albert Einstein's private diaries detailing his tour of Asia in the 1920s reveals the theoretical physicist and humanitarian icon's racist attitudes to the people he met on his travels, particularly the Chinese.
Written between October 1922 and March 1923, the diaries see the scientist musing on his travels, science, philosophy and art. In China, the man who famously once described racism as ''a disease of white people'' describes the ''industrious, filthy, obtuse people'' he observes. He notes how the ''Chinese don't sit on benches while eating but squat like Europeans do when they relieve themselves out in the leafy woods. All this occurs quietly and demurely. Even the children are spiritless and look obtuse.'' After earlier writing of the ''abundance of offspring'' and the ''fecundity'' of the Chinese, he goes on to say: ''It would be a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races. For the likes of us the mere thought is unspeakably dreary.''
Ze'ev Rosenkranz, senior editor and assistant director of the Einstein Papers Project at the California Institute of Technology, said: ''I think a lot of comments strike us as pretty unpleasant '' what he says about the Chinese in particular.
''They're kind of in contrast to the public image of the great humanitarian icon. I think it's quite a shock to read those and contrast them with his more public statements. They're more off guard, he didn't intend them for publication.''
Rosenkranz has edited and translated The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein, which have just been published for the first time as a standalone volume by Princeton University Press, including facsimiles of the diary pages. The diaries have only previously been published in German as part of the 15-volume Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, with small supplementary translations into English. A spokesperson for Princeton University Press said: ''This is the first time Einstein's travel diary will be made available to anyone who isn't a serious Einstein scholar.''
Further passages in the diaries, which are thought to have been written for Einstein's stepdaughters in Berlin while he and his wife were travelling in Asia, Spain and Palestine, and as an aide memoire, see him writing of the Chinese that ''even those reduced to working like horses never give the impression of conscious suffering. A peculiar herd-like nation [ '... ] often more like automatons than people.'' He later adds, in Rosenkranz's words, ''a healthy dose of extreme misogyny'' to his xenophobia with the observation: ''I noticed how little difference there is between men and women; I don't understand what kind of fatal attraction Chinese women possess which enthrals the corresponding men to such an extent that they are incapable of defending themselves against the formidable blessing of offspring''.
In Colombo in Ceylon, Einstein writes of how the locals ''live in great filth and considerable stench at ground level'' adding that they ''do little, and need little. The simple economic cycle of life.''
Einstein's perceptions of the Japanese he meets are, in contrast, more positive: ''Japanese unostentatious, decent, altogether very appealing,'' he writes. ''Pure souls as nowhere else among people. One has to love and admire this country.'' But Rosenkranz points out that he also concludes that the ''intellectual needs of this nation seem to be weaker than their artistic ones '' natural disposition?''
''Einstein's diary entries on the biological origin of the alleged intellectual inferiority of the Japanese, Chinese, and Indians are definitely not understated and can be viewed as racist '' in these instances, other peoples are portrayed as being biologically inferior, a clear hallmark of racism. The disquieting comment that the Chinese may 'supplant all other races' is also most revealing in this regard,'' writes Rosenkranz.
''Here, Einstein perceives a foreign 'race' as a threat, which '... is one of the characteristics of a racist ideology. Yet the remark that must strike the modern reader as most offensive is his feigning not to understand how Chinese men can find their women sufficiently attractive to have offspring with them. In light of these instances, we must conclude that Einstein did make quite a few racist and dehumanising comments in the diary, some of which were extremely unpleasant.''
Rosenkranz told the Guardian that although views like Einstein's were prevalent at the time, they were not universal. ''That's usually the reaction I get '' 'we have to understand, he was of the zeitgeist, part of the time' '' but I think I tried here and there to give a broader context. There were other views out there, more tolerant views,'' he said.
In his introduction, Rosenkranz writes how it is important to explore how a humanist icon such as Einstein '' whose image was once used for a UNHCR campaign with the slogan ''A bundle of belongings isn't the only thing a refugee brings to his new country. Einstein was a refugee'' '' could have written xenophobic comments about the peoples he encountered.
''The answer to this question seems very relevant in today's world, in which the hatred of the other is so rampant in so many places around the world,'' he writes. ''It seems that even Einstein sometimes had a very hard time recognising himself in the face of the other.''
Mid Terms
Obama Secretly Meeting With Potential 2020 Candidates
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 10:29
Getty Images
BY: Jack Heretik Follow@JackHeretikJune 11, 2018 11:33 am
Former President Barack Obama has been secretly holding meetings with multiple potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
Obama has so far met with at least nine possible candidates at his office in the World Wildlife Fund building in Washington, D.C., Politico reports.
All the meetings were arranged quietly, without even some close advisers to the people involved being told of the conversations, in part because of how much Obama bristles at his private meetings becoming public knowledge. All have been confirmed to POLITICO by multiple people who have been briefed on the secretive sit-downs.
The meetings have been at Obama's personal office on the third floor of the World Wildlife Fund building in D.C.'s West End neighborhood, and they show how a stream of ambitious, searching politicians are looking for guidance and support from the man who has remained the reluctant leader of the Democratic Party, eager to be involved, though not directly. He's not making any promises of support, though, and is not expected to endorse in the 2020 race until after a nominee has emerged.
Among those Obama has met with in Washington, D.C. are Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D.), and his former vice president, Joe Biden.
Other Democrats who have had recent meetings with Obama outside his office include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; former Missouri Secretary of State and failed Senate candidate Jason Kander; former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Obama has also met with his former attorney general, Eric Holder, who may be considering his own run for president and is now working with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
Since Republicans won the White House and retained control of both houses, many Democrats have struggled to point to a leader in the Democratic Party, and some continue to point to Obama. Obama for his part "doesn't see himself as the person to come up with the plan, people who know about the meetings say, but he is eager to be a sounding board and counselor to the Democrats he sees as playing a role in shaping the party's future," according to Politico.
The potential large field of Democratic candidates running for the party's nomination to challenge Trump in 2020 has caused turmoil and begun to pit different factions of the Democratic Party against one another. A vocal portion of the party has pushed it in a more liberal direction, while some others wish to take a more moderate stance.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has urged Obama to help Democrats during the 2018 midterm elections with fundraising.
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Migrants
Italy Rejects for 1st Time Accepting Humanitarian Boat Carrying Over 600 Migrants
Mon, 11 Jun 2018 11:06
Italy will, for the first time in years, refuse to let a humanitarian ship carrying more than 600 migrants and refugees dock at its ports and has asked the Mediterranean island of Malta to open its doors to the vessel, government officials said Sunday.
The move by Italy's new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who is also head of the far-right League, represents an opening gambit to make good on his electoral promises to halt the flow of migrants into the country.
"Malta takes in nobody. France pushes people back at the border, Spain defends its frontier with weapons," Salvini wrote on Facebook. "From today, Italy will also start to say no to human trafficking, no to the business of illegal immigration."
More than 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat from Africa in the past five years. Numbers have dropped dramatically in recent months, but rescues have increased in recent days, presenting Salvini with his first test as interior minister.
"My aim is to guarantee a peaceful life for these youths in Africa and for our children in Italy," Salvini said, using the Twitter hashtag "We are shutting the ports."
However, Salvini does not have authority over the ports and it was not immediately clear if his line would hold. The mayor of Naples, who has repeatedly clashed with the League leader, said he would welcome in the humanitarian boat. "Naples is ready, without funds, to save lives," he said.
European charity SOS Mediterranee said on Twitter earlier on Sunday that its rescue boat Aquarius had taken on board 629 migrants, including 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 other children and seven pregnant women.
The United Nations estimates that at least 500 people have died in 2018 trying to cross the central Mediterranean, following some 2,853 fatalities last year.
Salvini has accused the charities of acting as a "taxi service" for the migrants. On Friday, he called on NATO to help Italy defend its southern shores.
Spain to accept disputed migrant ship Aquarius - BBC News
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 09:20
Image caption Charity workers look after migrants on the Aquarius Spain's prime minister has said the country will take in a rescue ship stranded in the Mediterranean, to help avoid a humanitarian disaster.
Pedro Snchez said he would give "safe harbour" to the Aquarius and the 629 people on board, after Italy and Malta both refused to let the ship dock.
The UN refugee agency and the EU had both called for a swift end to the stand-off between the two countries.
Mr Snchez, who took office a week ago, said the ship would dock in Valencia.
The migrants aboard the Aquarius were picked up from inflatable boats off the coast of Libya at the weekend, in six different rescue operations, according to the NGO SOS M(C)diterran(C)e.
"It is our duty to help avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and offer a safe port to these people, to comply with our human rights obligations," Mr Sanchez's office said.
The Council of Europe welcomed Spain's move, with the organisation's Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, tweeting: "Saving lives at sea is an obligation that states must always uphold."
Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted his gratitude to Spain, saying Italy had broken international rules and caused a standoff.
He said Malta would be sending fresh supplies to the vessel, adding: "We will have to sit down and discuss how to prevent this from happening again. This is a European issue."
Spain's decision to take in the ship was hailed by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini as a "victory" for his government's hardline immigration policy.
Who is on board the ship?Those saved include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 younger children and seven pregnant women, SOS M(C)diterran(C)e said.
Image caption Former Aquarius volunteer: "The whole deck will be full of people" The minors are aged between 13 and 17 and come from Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria and Sudan, according to a journalist on the ship, Anelise Borges.
"Most of them are sleeping outside. They are obviously exhausted, they have been exposed to the elements, they have been at sea for 20 to 30 hours prior to their rescue," she told the BBC.
"They are fragile and we have yet to learn what's going to happen to them," she added.
Why did Italy reject the ship?Mr Salvini refused to let the ship in, saying: "Saving lives is a duty, turning Italy into a huge refugee camp is not."
"Italy is done bending over backwards and obeying - this time THERE IS SOMEONE WHO SAYS NO," he wrote on Twitter, with the hashtag #closethedoors.
Mr Salvini, leader of the right-wing League party, promised during Italy's recent general election to take a tough stance against migration.
Reality Check: Claims about migrants arriving in Italy Desperate migrants rescued from the sea UN sanctions for people traffickers in LibyaHe said Malta should accept the Aquarius, but it refused, arguing that it falls under Italy's jurisdiction.
Italy is the main entry point for migrants crossing from North Africa to Europe.
Mr Salvini has previously said he is considering action against organisations that rescue migrants at sea. He has accused them of being in cahoots with people-smugglers.
Image caption On a visit to Sicily, Matteo Salvini said Italy must increase its deportations of migrants. On Sunday, he said that Italy was saying "no to human trafficking, no to the business of illegal immigration".
"Malta takes in nobody," he added. "France pushes people back at the border, Spain defends its frontier with weapons."
SOS M(C)diterran(C)e said late on Sunday that the Aquarius had been instructed by the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre to stand by in its current position, 35 nautical miles (65km) from Italy and 27 nautical miles from Malta.
Despite Mr Salvini's stance, the mayors of Taranto and Naples had both offered to welcome the migrants, with Taranto's Rinaldo Melucci saying the Italian port city was "ready to embrace every life in danger".
Is Europe seeing a nationalist surge? Populists take power in Italy: What comes next? Italy country profile Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris tweeted that "if a minister without a heart leaves pregnant women, children, old people, human beings to die, the port of Naples is ready to welcome them".
A smart move by Spain's new prime ministerBy Guy Hedgecoe, BBC News, Madrid
While Spain's willingness to take in the Aquarius has surprised many observers, for the new Spanish government it does make political sense for several reasons.
The move solves a potentially thorny problem for the European Union, bolstering Pedro Snchez's hopes of becoming an influential leader within the bloc.
The new prime minister appears keen to distance himself from the legacy of his predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, whose international impact was discreet and who only took in a fraction of the refugees agreed upon in a 2015 accord with the EU.
In addition, this gesture is likely to impress left-leaning parties such as Podemos which were instrumental in voting the Socialist in to office on 1 June, and whose support he still needs.
What is the law on accepting ships?Rules on disembarking and assisting rescue ships such as Aquarius are governed by international law.
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea dictates that any ship learning of distress at sea must assist regardless of the circumstances.
It says that the country responsible for operations in that area has primary responsibility for taking them from the ship.
It also clearly states that the relevant government "shall arrange for such disembarkation to be effected as soon as reasonably practicable".
Image copyright SOS MEDITERRANEE
Image caption German charity SOS M(C)diterran(C)e posted photos of rescued migrants A big question for Spain: What happens to the next ship?By Kevin Connolly, Europe Correspondent, BBC News
The European Union wrote its rules about how migrants should be handled in the 1990s when no-one could have imagined the collapse of Libya would create huge flows of desperate people heading across the Mediterranean from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.
The rules say migrants are the responsibility of the first member state where they land - an overwhelming problem in countries like Greece and Italy where the election of a populist government is at least in part a response to the pressure. So the migrants are starting to shape the politics of Southern Europe.
And when Italy's Trumpish Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini proclaims "victory", he's telling his voters that the promise of a tougher line on immigration is real.
He's challenging the EU to find a proper solution too, based on forcing other member states to accept quotas of migrants - something it's failed to do so far. And he's incidentally created a big question for Spain. Will its offer to the Aquarius be extended to further ships in the future?
FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show a Toddler in a Cage Detained by ICE in 2018?
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:36
CLAIM A disturbing photograph depicts a small boy who was detained by ICE in 2018 being held in a cage.
Miscaptioned RATING ORIGIN In June 2018 social media users began circulating a heart-rending photograph depicting a sobbing toddler clutching the bars of a cage in which he is confined, usually accompanied by commentary stating that the image depicted a boy who had been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2018 and criticizing Trump administration immigration policies as being responsible for the youngster's plight:
This is what happens when a government believes people are ''illegal.''
Kids in cages. pic.twitter.com/OAnvr9cl3P
'-- Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) June 12, 2018
NO photo that 45 takes kissing Un's ass will have the impact this photo of an immigrant child IN A FUCKING cage will have if we can get this to go viral. The world has to see this horror that is 45. RT, RT, RT. Please. pic.twitter.com/2Hm55Kxacl
'-- PaulMay'†(C)¸ (@PaulMayATL) June 12, 2018
Some commenters maintained that the photograph had been taken years prior (in 2014 or earlier), during the administration of President Barack Obama, and was therefore not illustrative of the results of Trump-era immigration policies.
However, as it turned out, the photograph was taken on 10 June 2018, but it did not show a child confined by immigration authorities to a cage. Rather, it was snapped during a protest staged in front of Dallas City Hall to call attention to the Trump administration's practice of separating families and confining undocumented children. Different photographs of the event document that the same child was standing a mocked-up ''cage'' open at the top, and several commenters noted that the boy was crying not because he was confined, but because he saw his mother outside the pen and could not immediately figure out how to get to her.
The photograph was quickly decoupled from its source (as happens quite often on the Internet), and then it was circulated with various descriptions and captions that left the mistaken impression the pictured boy was a child who had been caged by immigration authorities.
You can spot the youngster out of the cage in this photograph:
The full photoset can be viewed here.
Update 12 June 2018, 1:29 P.M.: Added the source and changed the truth rating from Unproven to Miscaptioned.
Net Neutrality
Up For Debate: Preserve Net Neutrality? - Newsy Story
Sun, 10 Jun 2018 22:36
abcactionnews.com National News Partner
Newsy Staff1:10 PM, May 24, 2018
6:25 PM, May 24, 2018
In partnership with Intelligence Squared U.S., Newsy brings you a snapshot of "Up for Debate." In this episode, experts debate whether we should preserve net neutrality. Catch a new episode of the full debate Sunday at 9 a.m. ET.
Trending stories at Newsy.com
'Not the End of Net Neutrality,' Say Internet Defenders, But Beginning of 'Most Important Battle Yet'
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 09:44
As the FCC's rollback of net neutrality protections officially took effect on Monday, a broad coalition of free press and digital rights campaigners vowed to maintain pressure on members of Congress to either restore the federal rules "or prepare to face our wrath" in the November midterm elections.
"People are pissed off. And rightly so. The gutting of net neutrality is a symbol of our broken democracy. It's the worst of the worst that the D.C. swamp has to offer."'--Evan Greer,Fight for the Future
Supporters of net neutrality rules'--which require internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all online content equally'--are aiming to convince House Speaker Paul Ryan and additional Republicans to support a Congressional Review Act (CRA) that would overturn the FCC's party-line vote.
Last month, a few Senate Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the CRA, which was spearheaded by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
"Now we're fighting an uphill battle to get the House of Representatives to do the same," explains the BattleforNet coalition, which includes Fight for the Future, Free Press, and Demand Progress. "It's not going to be easy, but if the whole internet comes together to fight, we can win."
"In the House, we'll need 218 lawmakers to sign on to a 'discharge petition' in order to force a vote past leadership to the floor," the coalition's website outlines. "That means we'll need to convince all the Democrats and about 25 Republicans to support the CRA. The clock is ticking'--if the CRA resolution doesn't get a vote this year, it dies when the new Congress comes into session."
Now that the repeal is in effect, ISPs "have the green light to begin degrading our access to the internet," said former FCC commissioner and Common Cause special adviser Michael Copps. "Monopoly phone and cable companies will undoubtedly seek to maximize profits by favoring their own content over their competitors and creating fast lanes and slow lanes ultimately at the expense of consumers."
With that in mind, Battle for the Net is promoting three ways constituents can urge their congressional represenatives to back the discharge petition:
flood them with calls and emails;schedule in-person events, protests, meetings, and canvassing;and encourage small business owners to sign a public petition pledging their support'--because "in Washington, money talks," and lawmakers recognize the "vital" role those owners play in their districts.Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, "a former Verizon lawyer, bucked the law, ignored public opinion and twisted the facts to make his ill-advised case for handing control of the internet to the anti-competitive cabal of giant phone and cable companies," as Free Press's Timothy Karr noted in an op-ed on Monday.
"Poll after poll after poll after poll shows large majorities of Republican voters in opposition to the FCC's repeal," Karr pointed out. "Any Republican seeking re-election in the fall can't run from this polling data or from the people back home who demand real net neutrality."
"People are pissed off. And rightly so. The gutting of net neutrality is a symbol of our broken democracy. It's the worst of the worst that the D.C. swamp has to offer," Fight for the Future's Evan Greer said in a statement Monday.
"But it has sparked an unprecedented backlash from across the political spectrum, and internet users are coming out of the woodwork to fight tooth and nail in Congress, in the courts, and at the local and state level," she continued. "This summer we'll channel our anger productively and harness the power of the internet to mount an unprecedented district-by-district campaign to get Congress to do their job."
"The internet is coming for net neutrality. There is nowhere to hide," Greer concluded. "Any lawmaker, of any party, that fails to sign the discharge petition in support of the CRA will regret it come election time."
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Netflix: Why AT&T bought Time Warner and Comcast and Disney want Fox
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 12:12
The media industry is in a frenzy.
AT&T is buying Time Warner for $85 billion after overcoming a challenge from the Justice Department. The Murdoch family has agreed to sell the majority of its 21st Century Fox empire to Disney.
Comcast plans to crash that deal with a higher offer. It has also outbid Fox for the remaining 61 percent of European pay-TV provider Sky. Those two deals together could total $100 billion when the bidding is done.
Viacom and CBS continue to dance around merging. Discovery closed a $14.6 billion acquisition for Scripps Networks in March. Lionsgate completed its $4.4 billion deal purchase of Starz in December.
There's been a drastic change among legacy media company executives the last two years. Their CEOs won't say it publicly, but they're saying it privately: The pay-TV bundle, the lifeblood of the U.S. media ecosystem for decades, is dying.
There's a lot of places to blame. Competition on mobile devices. Video games. Even the internet in general.
But executives at most traditional media companies agree that Netflix, if not directly responsible, is at least holding the murder weapon. The 21-year-old company that was once best known for killing DVD rental giant Blockbuster has pivoted its entire business around the idea that streaming video delivered over the internet will replace the linear TV.
See also: Reed Hastings won by studying Amazon '-- then running in the opposite direction
Consumers seem to agree. Netflix gained 92 million customers in the last five years while the number of people who pay for cable declines year after year. That dynamic has persuaded investors to believe in Netflix's high-risk business model of running cash-flow negative to outspend traditional media companies for content. It has let Netflix strike deals with everyone from David Letterman to Ryan Murphy to Barack Obama.
And the more Netflix spends, the more investors cheer.
The success of Netflix in the market is why we're seeing "the greatest rearranging of the media industry chessboard in history," according to BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield.
But chasing scale isn't the answer for every media company, according to Netflix CFO David Wells.
"Not everybody's going to get big," Wells said in an interview. "The strategic question is, 'what type of business do I want to be in the next five or 10 years?'"
So legacy giants are now beginning to contemplate how to beat Netflix at its own game. Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, has had preliminary talks with AT&T to start an over-the-top digital streaming service with NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. content, according to people familiar with the matter. Discovery is also pondering its own OTT service, potentially with a global technology company, said other sources. Disney is debuting its streaming service next year.
Wells is skeptical about this approach.
"The consumer doesn't want 100 direct-to-consumer services," he said. "The consumer wants great breadth and amazing personalization so they can find something in 30 seconds instead of five minutes."
Photo: Michael Rubin
Reed Hastings in 2006.
While traditional media is racing to catch up, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is not looking back at the runners he's passed.
Hastings has never really feared legacy media, said Neil Rothstein, who worked at Netflix from 2001 to 2012 and eventually ran digital global advertising for the company. That's because Hastings bought into the fundamental principle of "The Innovator's Dilemma," the 1997 business strategy book by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen.
That book, often cited in tech circles, explains how disruptive businesses often start off as cheaper alternatives with lesser functionality, making it difficult for big incumbents to respond without cannibalizing their cash-rich businesses. Over time, the newcomer adds features and builds customer loyalty until it's just as good or better than the incumbent's product. By the time the old guard wakes up, it's too late.
"Reed brought 25 or 30 of us together, and we discussed the book," Rothstein said of an executive retreat he remembered nearly a decade ago. "We studied AOL and Blockbuster as cautionary tales. We knew we had to disrupt, including disrupting ourselves, or someone else would do it."
There's no guarantee Netflix can keep up its big spending without seeing its stock fall back to Earth. But the media giants can no longer afford to wait and find out.
The unfair fightLet's say you're a carpenter, and you make furniture out of mahogany. You pay for mahogany wood and sell a finished product for a profit. You've been doing this for years, and you've made a good living from it.
One day, a new guy '-- let's call him Reed Hastings '-- moves in next door. At first, Reed seems awesome. After looking through your store, he buys a bunch of the dusty pieces in the back no one else wanted.
Photo: Michael Rubin
Reed Hastings in 2006.
But after a while, Reed decides to get into the furniture manufacturing business, too. And now he's telling your mahogany supplier that he'll pay 50 percent more for the same wood. Then another competitor, a rich fellow named Jeff Bezos, shows up across the street. He wants the mahogany, too, and he's bidding 75 percent more.
This is crazy, you think. How are these guys able to afford to pay so much more for the same stuff? They've got to be passing along the costs to their customers, right?
But they're not. You walk in their store, and they're selling the same quality furniture you make for less than you sell it. And cash from investors is pouring in.
You say, what the hell? I'll up my spending, too. This is the new world, I guess. So you bid 100 percent more for mahogany. Instantly, your stock falls. "Boo!" say your investors. "Your business model is dying!"
This sounds like a Franz Kafka novel. But this allegory explains the current plight of legacy media.
Imagine Lionsgate is the mahogany carpenter. Lionsgate develops original and licensed movies and TV shows; it pays for the talent and the production costs and receives money in return from cable channels, digital outlets, TV networks and so on. It owns the "Hunger Games" franchise, "Mad Men" and "Orange is the New Black." That last one, of course, runs on Netflix.
For years, Netflix was a welcome addition to the media landscape because it bought a lot of library content that was old or not that popular. Plus, Netflix didn't get in the way of the two main ways content providers make money '-- signing deals with pay-TV operators like Comcast, Charter, AT&T and Dish Network, and taking cash from advertisers. Working with Netflix was like finding free money.
Photo: Patty McCord
(L-R): Ted Sarandos, Reed Hastings, and Michael Rubin in Jan. 2005.
But the programmers kept asking for higher fees, especially on costly sports rights, and that pushed cable bills higher. Meanwhile, Netflix customers loved the low price '-- originally less than $8 a month compared with $80 or $100 for cable. When Netflix started offering a handful of original shows, such as "House of Cards" and "Orange Is The New Black," viewers kept coming, and the company's valuation swelled.
Five years ago, Netflix was trading at about $32 per share. Today, Netflix trades at about $370 a share. That's a gain of 1,050 percent.
Over the same period, Lionsgate is down about 15 percent.
A lot of media CEOs believe Netflix is winning because the game is rigged in its favor. Their complaints focus on how companies are valued by investors.
Lionsgate's enterprise value (EV), a good measure of a company's worth, is about $7.5 billion. Its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) over the last 12 months was $520 million. So, Lionsgate trades at a trailing EV/EBITDA multiple of about 14. Discovery, Disney and Viacom all trade at trailing multiples lower than 14.
Netflix has an enterprise value of $165 billion and EBITDA of $1.1 billion, giving it a multiple of about 150.
That's the equivalent of a huge cheering section, throwing money at the company to keep spending.
Indeed, Netflix is now the number one spender on media content outside of sports rights, according to consulting firm SNL Kagan.
Can the spending game last?Some traditional media execs and analysts are skeptical that Netflix can keep it up.
"To be worth $150 billion, someday you've got to make at least $10 billion in EBITDA," Steve Burke, CEO of CNBC parent company NBCUniversal, said in an interview. "There's at least a chance Netflix never makes that."
Netflix spends more money than it takes in each year, funding the gaps with debt. Last year, it posted free cash flow of almost negative $2 billion and has forecast that it could be negative $4 billion in 2018. Netflix's path forward is tied to massive international growth, which will require spending billions more on original programming.
If you think Netflix should trade like a traditional media company, Burke's got a pretty good case Netflix is insanely overvalued. Even Hastings acknowledges Netflix looks more like a media company than a technology company, which tend to trade at much higher multiples.
"We'll spend over $10 billion on content and marketing and $1.3 billion on tech," Hastings said in his April 16 quarterly earnings conference call. "So just objectively, we're much more of a media company in that way than pure tech."
The music will stop for Netflix if it can't quit burning money, said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, who has a sell rating on the stock and a price target of $140 per share.
"Netflix has burned more cash every year since 2013," Pachter said.
As of the end of the first quarter, Netflix had $6.54 billion in long-term debt and $17.9 billion in streaming content payment obligations, with only $2.6 billion in cash and equivalents on hand. In April, Netflix raised $1.9 billion of 5.875 percent senior notes.
"What happens when they need to keep increasing their spending and suddenly they have $10 billion of debt? People are going to start asking, 'can this company pay us back?' If that happens, their lending rate will spike. If Netflix needs to raise capital, they'll issue stock. And that's when investors will get spooked," Pachter said.
Even if his logic is sound, Pachter has been wrong for years on Netflix. Its stock has just kept rising.
Netflix executives even posted a 2005 comment of his on a wall at their Los Gatos, California, headquarters and would chuckle at it as they walked by. It read: "Netflix is a worthless piece of crap with really nice people running it."
Hastings: Everyone uses cash wrongNetflix's use of cash is strategic, even though it's not a typical corporate practice, according to Hastings.
"It's horrible how mismanaged most Silicon Valley companies are in capital," Hastings said in a 2015 interview with venture capitalist John Doerr, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and early backer of tech giants like Google and Amazon.
"Microsoft always wanted to have a lot of cash on hand. Apple had no cash 15 years ago in 2000. Who did the most innovation? The cash does not help. The cash insolates you in a bad way. It's a bad thing that companies store cash."
From October 2016: Reed Hastings on AT&T-Time Warner, acquisition speculation:
The long-term bull case for Netflix is that its subscriber growth, coupled with incremental price increases, will eventually propel earnings and cash flow.
BTIG's Greenfield predicts Netflix will increase its global subscribers from 125 million to 200 million by 2020. Bank of America analyst Nat Schindler estimates Netflix will have 360 million subscribers by 2030. Netflix estimates the total addressable market of subscribers, not including China, could be about 800 million.
Meanwhile, the number of traditional cable and satellite pay-TV households falls each year, and the declines are accelerating. Research firm Statista predicts there will be 95 million U.S. pay-TV households by 2020, down from 100 million in 2015.
The bigger Netflix gets, the more A+ talent will want to sign exclusive deals with Netflix instead of traditional media companies. It's a virtuous cycle, as top talent then accelerates subscriber growth. It's also a death spiral for the weakest traditional media players.
Netflix has another edge in the content wars. While networks make decisions on TV ratings, Netflix plays a different game. Its barometer for success is based on how much it spent on a show rather than hoping every show is a blowout hit, said Barry Enderwick, who worked in Netflix's marketing department from 2001 to 2012 and who was director of global marketing and subscriber acquisition. Since Netflix is not beholden to advertisers, niche shows can be successful, as long as Netflix controls spending. That also gives Netflix the luxury of being able to order full seasons of shows, which appeals to talent.
"If you're a typical studio, you raise money for a pilot, and if it tests well, you pick up the show, maybe you make a few more episodes, and you wait for the ratings," said Enderwick.
"At Netflix, our data made our decisions for us, so we'd just order two seasons. Show creators would ask us, 'do you want to see notes? Don't you want to see a pilot?' We'd respond, 'If you want us to.' Creators were gobsmacked."
That dynamic has led some content makers to decide they're better off working directly for Netflix, which now spends more on content than many TV networks.
Last year, Netflix signed Shonda Rhimes, creator of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal," to a multiyear contract after more than a decade at ABC Studios. Earlier this year, Netflix signed a deal with Ryan Murphy, creator of "Nip/Tuck," "American Horror Story" and "Glee," to a deal that could reach $300 million, according to Deadline Hollywood. He left Fox TV for the Netflix offer and spurned a counteroffer from Disney. And Jenji Kohan, who created "Orange is The New Black" for Lionsgate? She left for Netflix, too.
Fighting backSo if you're a big media company, how do you fight back? What if you're Comcast or Charter or AT&T? How do you stop customers from ditching pay TV services for Netflix?
Compete
Disney is farthest ahead in its plan to fight Netflix head-on.
It's removing all of its movies from Netflix at the end of the year and starting its own service for lovers of Disney and Pixar titles. Disney's digital over-the-top service will launch in 2019 and include movies and TV shows from the Disney-ABC TV Group library. Fox's film and TV library would bolster this service, if Disney completes that deal.
NBCUniversal may be forced into offering a streaming service of its own, potentially with partners who can generate enough must-have content that it becomes enticing to customers with and without cable.
NBCUniversal executives have discussed launching a rival OTT service that would include Universal and Warner Bros. programming, according to people familiar with the matter, although it may not happen if NBCUniversal parent company Comcast succeeds in grabbing Fox from out of Disney's hands. Outside of Fox, NBC views Warner's library of programming as the strongest among potential partners, with Sony No. 2, one of the people said. (AT&T and NBCUniversal spokespeople declined to comment.)
Discovery, too, is considering an OTT product, according to people familiar with the matter '-- perhaps in conjunction with a global tech platform that can showcase its nonfiction programming '-- an area where Netflix isn't as strong.
"You look at the FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google), and their strategy is focused primarily on scripted movies and scripted series," Discovery CEO David Zaslav said. "Discovery is probably the most effective nonfiction producer in the world. I like our hand given we own all of our content."
A Discovery spokesman declined to comment on plans for the OTT service.
There are several problems with competing with Netflix by offering rival online services. Netflix already has a huge first-mover advantage. Stand-alone digital services aren't where legacy media companies want to spend their money. Programming costs are high, and the result may just cannibalize their existing pay-TV model, which brings in billions of dollars from subscriber fees and ads. And just because the market has rewarded Netflix for its strategy doesn't mean investors will cheer on late competitors for following the same model.
Consolidate
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told CNBC earlier this year that the Time Warner deal is a direct response to Netflix.
"Reality is, the biggest distributor of content out there is totally vertically integrated," said Stephenson. "This happens to be somebody called Netflix. But they create original content; they aggregate original content; and they distribute original content. This thing is moving at lightning speed."
The desire to gain scale to take on Netflix is also driving interest by Disney and Comcast in Fox's assets, which include Fox's movie studio, some cable networks and stakes in Sky, Endemol Shine Group, and Hulu.
But getting bigger isn't the answer for everyone, said Wells.
"Some brands are big enough to compete to be another Netflix, or another YouTube, and vie for the global consumer media dollar," said Wells. "But not everybody's going to be in that bucket. They may want to specialize in content production, and that may be a better business for them."
Capitulate
Comcast and Charter have actually accelerated Netflix's growth by allowing Netflix subscribers access to their programming through their cable boxes. Their strategy is if people are going to watch Netflix anyway, they might as well bundle it with cable service and improve the overall experience. That way, customers can subscribe to both.
Because these cable giants are also Internet providers, they also have a theoretical weapon in their back pocket '-- the ability to throttle Netflix speeds in the new era without net neutrality safeguards, or at least charge customers for using data via Netflix while keeping home-grown cable applications exempt from usage caps.
"We could experience discriminatory or anti-competitive practices that could impede our growth, cause us to incur additional expense or otherwise negatively affect our business," Netflix acknowledges in its annual report.
But this isn't much of a fear for Netflix. The company knows cable and wireless companies need broadband growth more than video growth to keep flourishing, and few companies drive internet usage like Netflix. T-Mobile now offers its customers Netflix for free.
How does this end? Big Media isn't going to just disappear like Blockbuster. A company like CBS, with a market capitalization of $20 billion, had EBITDA of about $3 billion last year '-- that's three times as much as Netflix. Many sports rights are still locked up for years by old media companies. That will keep affiliate fees and advertising dollars coming.
But Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google have massive valuations and cash hoards compared with media companies. They, too, have the balance sheets to spend billions on video without seeing a major dent in their stock prices. And as young consumers get older, the days of paying for a bundle of TV channels may be waning.
So how does this end? Netflix's answer is again in a business strategy book.
Hastings derived many of his strategy lessons from a Stanford instructor named Hamilton Helmer. Hastings even invited him to Netflix in 2010 to teach other executives.
One of Helmer's key concepts is called counter-positioning, which Helmer defines as: "A newcomer adopts a new, superior business model which the incumbent does not mimic due to anticipated damage to their existing business."
"Throughout my business career, I have often observed powerful incumbents, once lauded for their business acumen, failing to adjust to a new competitive reality," Hastings writes in the forward to Helmer's book "7 Powers," published in 2016.
"The result is a stunning fall from grace."
Photo: Michael Rubin
Reed Hastings in 2008 looking in the window of a closed Blockbuster store.
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Brexit
Over 100 UK tech leaders back new call for a people's vote on Brexit '' TechCrunch
Mon, 11 Jun 2018 12:59
As London Tech Week launches today to talk-up the capital's prospects, over 100 UK tech founders, directors and investors are calling on the Government to back a meaningful vote ''by the people'' on the actual terms of Brexit. The tech leaders are signatories to the aims of new tech business group Tech For UK which is backing anti-Brexit campaign group Best For Britain in its fundraising campaign for a meaningful vote on the terms of Brexit and the option to ''Remain and lead in the EU''. Over 50 other tech industry players have also signed up.
Tech For UK represents the founders of many of the most innovative businesses in the UK including Martha Lane Fox (co-founder of Lastminute.com and Doteveryone), Gareth Edwards (Founder, travel player Deckchair.com), Ben Whitaker (Founder of Masabi, the smart cities ticketing startup), Bernhard Niesner (Founder of the language learning giant Busuu), Giles Andrews (Cofounder & Chairman, of P2P lending pioneer Zopa), and George Bevis (founder of small business banking provider Tide), among many others.
The list also includes Tech community leaders outside of the so-called 'London bubble' including Dr Sue Black OBE, Founder, TechMums and Bletchley Park campaigner; Elena Sinel, Acorn Aspirations, which teachers teenagers coding and entrepreneurship; and Nuala Murphy (CEO, Moment Health) a leading entrepreneur based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The group said the loss of access to European funds, the flight of talent which powers UK tech companies due to the uncertainty and scandal around immigration, the loss of access to the Digital Single Market, which the Uk tech industry was never consulted over '-- all of these factors are adversely affecting the UK Tech industry, says Tech For UK.
Funding from the European Investment Fund has collapsed since the Brexit vote, and a replacement scheme has yet to be assured long-term by the government. The European Investment Bank, which backs a majority of the United Kingdom's VC funds, has slashed deals with UK VCs and private equity groups by more than two-thirds, with scant equivalent funding from the UK government in sight. Even a government-backed report cited Brexit as a top challenge for tech companies in the UK.
The technology sector has consistently grown faster than the UK economy in recent years, employing over two million people and attracting billions in foreign investment.
''Collectively, Tech For UK supporters have raised hundreds of millions of pounds, put hundreds of millions back into the UK economy and employed thousands of people. This is why Tech For UK is lobbying for this vote,'' said co-founder Josh Russell, partner of Resolve.
''The ongoing uncertainty along with declining growth is a hard one to take. We went from the fastest growing (before Brexit) to the lowest-growing in the EU with the economy expected to grow a mere 1% in 2018. While the government argues about the Customs Union for goods, it is Services make up the bulk of the UK economy and they've cut off the tech sector's access to the Digital Single Market. It's time the people of the UK had a say on what Brexit actually is,'' said Madhuban Kumar, Founder/CEO, Metafused, and co-organiser of Tech For UK.
Brexit has not happened yet and appears to be already having an effect on the UK economy. The Bank of England recently released figures that showed ''the UK economy is currently 1% smaller than expected two years ago''.
Here are some quotes from Tech For UK supporters, which is continuing to call for new supporters, while there is a growing Facebook group here.
''The Brexiteers admit they can't deliver the Brexit they promised so we deserve a vote on the one they've got us instead.''George Bevis, CEO, Tide.
''The greatest sadness of Brexit is that those who voted for it will suffer the most. What was sold to them as a vote for national freedom and prosperity is only going to lead to a poorer and more divided society. The rise in racist hate crimes is just one of the signs of this. We urgently need to reconsider the path we are on and not walk blindly into the darkness.''Hephzi Pemberton, Founder of Kiteka and Angel Investor
''We now had 2 years of due diligence on Brexit and the British people deserve a vote on this deal. Anything else would be highly irresponsible and undemocratic.''Bernhard Niesner, CEO & Co-founder of Busuu
'''Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons' '' it's becoming increasingly clear that the fiction that was promised by the Leave campaign was just that, and now the truths of the damage being done to our economy and our standing in the world are laid bare. The people deserve the chance to vote on the truth '' the final terms of the agreement that will decide the future of this country. Anything less would be a travesty of democracy.''Glenn Shoosmith Founder/CEO Booking Bug
''Having been deeply involved in the U.K. and global technology ecosystem for the past 20 years and most recently as an Advisor to the EU Innovation Minister as a member of the European Innovation Council, I firmly believe that we cannot work in a vacuum. A tech company born in the UK is global from almost day one, and I fear not having a say on the final terms of Brexit will have a meaningful impact on UK's capability to maintain its global lead in the tech sector.''Bindi Karia, Innovation Expert + Advisor
''Once the details are visible, we can truly vote on Brexit. Will it actually allow us to build the next generation of world-beating companies or is it shifting red tape from Brussels to London and increasing the cost of trading and working with Europe?''Riaz Kanani, MD & Founder, Radiate B2B
''The UK and especially London has become a vibrant and globally successful centre for technology innovation. Many of the most exciting startup businesses here have been founded by immigrant entrepreneurs and grown with UK and European employees joining the companies as they grow rapidly. Any Brexit which does not keep the UK in the single market and customs union would in my view considerably dampen the prospects for tech start-ups here in the UK '' there would be less of them and they would find it harder to grow as rapidly. We need a meaningful vote on the terms of Brexit.''Simon Murdoch, Managing Partner, Episode 1 Ventures
''As technology entrepreneurs and investors, we are working in global markets. Access to talent and low barriers to market entry are key to secure the momentum of our industries. Brexit is the most important decisions for generations and it would be irresponsible not to let people have a decision on the exact term of the world they will live in''Volker Hirsch, Angel investor and co-founder of Tech North Advocates
''As a Northern Ireland native, I've seen first hand the difficulty that division can cause, just as I can see the major and needless impact that Brexit is having on bringing back the divisions on that island. Isolation and protectionism has never proven to be a positive long-term strategy, and that is becoming clear in this case too. And with more in the tech industry, and in the UK as a whole, considering themselves citizens of the world, we risk closing our doors and driving away a diverse set of people that help make us all better.''Rob Elkin, Busuu
''Our world-leading digital industry is being led into a back water of mediocrity by a crop of leaders who don't even know what Brexit they want and why they want it. By keeping the best talent in the world out with central government quotas on immigration they've pulled down the shutters. Digital leaders will simply start up elsewhere. Let's end this nonsense now, reopen our borders to Europe and the world, and bring back the experts!''Toby Beresford, Rise
''I spent 12 years working in China '' living over there I came to appreciate the value, and leverage, that comes with size. We are a small nation of 65m and I do not believe we are strong or powerful enough to go it alone in a rapidly globalising world. We are European and can't pretend otherwise. We already have clients making London-based teams redundant as they move whole divisions to Ireland. I catch myself thinking ''well it's ok I'm sure the government know what they're doing'...'' and instantly remember they clearly do not. A people's vote is the common sense choice now that we all really understand what is at stake.''Ed Dean, CEO, Woodseer Global
''Brexit affects everything from our relationships with family to our global standing, even potentially the Peace Process and Scottish Independence, so I was disappointed to see the campaigns be so divisive, muddied, vague, and in many cases inaccurate. We punch above our weight, which means we have a lot to lose. The country of Magna Carta and the Mother of Parliaments deserves a meaningful debate on concrete options, and a vote based on considered strategic goals. The young people of the UK are the ones who will have to deliver those goals. Right now they don't want Brexit at all, so if it's to succeed they need to feel heard and their concerns addressed.''Richard Marr, CEO, BeApplied
''Once the government has negotiated the final terms for Brexit, it must give the electorate the opportunity to vote on whether to agree to those terms or not. Given the gravity of impact on our lives, businesses and the future prosperity of our children; it would, in my humble opinion, be both undemocratic and immoral not to do so. If we believe it is better to remain part of the EU as an alternative to that proposal, we should be given the chance to vote for that as an option too.''Peter Ward, Co-founder, Humanity Inc
''Britons voted for Brexit in the initial referendum with inadequate and often wholly spurious information on both sides of the argument. For a decision which will impact our children's lives across the decades and our commercial lives within a matter of months, it is incomprehensible not to give it the scrutiny it deserves: from parliament at least, and ideally the voting public.''Nick Saalfeld, Director, Wells Park Communications
''London is Europe's leading tech hub fuelled by talent from across the continent. A bad deal threatens to undermine the most dynamic part of our economy. If the government strikes a deal that lets us continue to thrive then they have no reason to fear a people's vote on the terms of Brexit.''Andy Cockburn, CEO & Co-founder, MentionMe
''We employ a bunch of highly skilled people and 70% of our staff don't have a UK passport. Finding and attracting great team members is a major challenge and is the single biggest constraint on our growth. Anything we can do to make it easier for smart people to come to the UK is a bonus. Doing the opposite is frankly economic suicide.''Adam Fudakowski, CEO, Switchee
''If the chief objective of the original Brexit vote is about ensuring that the people have their say, then a positive endorsement by the people is the only logical form of ratification that can be conceived in order to commit our great nation to the most material economic and social decision it's made since entering World War II.''Alex Hoye, Co-founder, The Faction Collective
''Our research on the Top500 multichannel retailers in Europe shows the UK as an admired leader in retail, logistics and the underlying technologies and skills. The market for talent, customers and capability requires frictionless access, a consistent and open commercial framework, and an appropriate regulatory framework. Harnessing the talents of the technology, digital and commercial sectors will help the UK chart the best course for its future, and we call upon Parliament to be free to engage in an open debate while retaining its constitutional obligation to act in the interest of the country's future.''Ian Jindal, Founder, Pencil / InternetRetailing
''As a growing tech business in the UK we're already seeing the brexit effect, restricting access to the best talent and holding back advertisers from investing in brand growth. If these corrosive economic effects weren't clear before the referendum, they are now '' and we think people should have the opportunity to vote for the first time with a clear idea of how damaging brexit will be for jobs, growth and innovation.''Andrew Walmsley, Chairman, Inskin Media
A partial list of backers to date is reproduced below:
Adam Fudakowski, CEO, SwitcheeAdam Price, Founder, VouchedFor & HatchAlex Hoye, Co-founder, The Faction CollectiveAndrea Tricoli, Co-Founder, ExpresslyAndrew Walmsley, Non Exec Chairman, Inskin MediaAndy Cockburn, CEO & Cofounder, Mention MeBen Evans, Co-Founder, jClarityBen Farren, CEO, SPOKEBen Whately, Co-founder and COO, MemriseBen Whitaker, Founder, MasabiBenjamin A. Falk, Founder, Yo-Da (your data)Benjamin Redford, Co-founder, MaykuBenji Lanyado, Founder & CEO, PicfairBernhard Niesner, CEO, BusuuBindi Karia, Innovation Expert & Advisor,Blaine Cook, Principal Architect, Cond(C) NastCarlos Oliveira, Founder & CEO, Shaping CloudCassandra Stavrou, Founder, PropercornC(C)cile Baird, Founder, Decentrl.AgencyCharlie Dobres, CEO, Busking It ProductionsChris Greening, CTO, Managed Respone Marketing LtdChris Pointon, Co-founder, RacefullyChris Tolmie, Director, CatacomsColin Pyle, CEO & Founder, CRU KafeConor Graham, Cofounder, #HackTheHubCourtney Glymph, Product and Solutions Communications, CA TechnologiesDamien Tanner, Investor,Daniel Appelquist, Director of Web Advocacy & Open Source, Samsung Research UKDaniel Murray, Co Founder, GrabbleDavid Batey, Founder, Nickelled LtdDavid Coveney, Director, interconnect/itDavid Tenemaza Kramaley, CEO, ChessableDimitar Stanimiroff, CEO & Co-founder, HeresyDominic Campbell, CEO, FuturegovDr Sue Black OBE, Founder, TechMumsEd Dean, CEO, Woodseer GlobalEd French, CEO, GameSessionsEd Lascelles, Partner, Albion CapitalElena Sinel, Acorn AspirationsEthar Alali, Managing Director, Axelisys LimitedFabrice Bernhard, Co-Founder, TheodoFrank Kelcz, Partner, Collider VCGareth Edwards, Founder, Deckchair.comGareth Quinn, Founder, Digital DNAGeorge Bevis, CEO, TideGianluca Gindro, Senior Data Scientist, GeophyGilbert Corrales, CEO, Leaf.fm LtdGiles Andrews, Cofounder & Chairman, ZopaGlenn Shoosmith, Founder & CEO, BookingbugGuy Morris, Managing Director, Quiz the NationGuy Podjarny, Founder & CEO, SnykHephzi Pemberton, Founder, KitekaHilary Anne Stephenson, Managing Director, SigmaHoi Lam, Head of Wear OS Developer Relations, GoogleHywel Carver, CEO/CTO, MultipleIan Jindal, Founder, Pencil / InternetRetailingIlicco Elia, Head Of Mobile, Deloitte DigitalIrfon Watkins, Founder, DovuIvan Mazour, CEO and Founder, OmetriaJack Huang, Director, TrulyExperiences.comJames Evans, Managing Director, Bluespot.io LtdJames Whatley, Planning Partner, Ogilvy UKJana Hlistova, Founder, Diversity HacksJanna Bastow, Cofounder, ProdPadJason Trost, CEO / founder, SmarketsJessica Kennedy White,, UCL EducateJoanna Goodman, Tech Journalist,John Stevenson, VP Equity Derivatives, CitiJon Atkinson, Technical Director, FARM Digital Ltd.Jonathan Grubin, Founder & CEO, SoPostJonathan Petrides, Founder, allplantsJosh Feldberg, Head of Digital, 89upJosh Russell, Partner, ResolveJoshua W¶hle, CTO, SuperAwesomeJulio Alejandro, CEO & Founder, Jada Consulting '' ''Taming Disruptive Technologies''Kaj Wik Siebert, CTO, Social FinanceKatie Moffat, Head Of Digital, The Audience AgencyKevin Schmidt, CTO, Century TechLaure Claire Reillier, Co-Founder and COO, Launchworks & CoLaurence Kemball-Cook, Founder & CEO, PavegenMadhuban Kumar, CEO, MetafusedMarc Roberts, CTO, HiyaCarMarc Sloan, Co-Founder & CEO, Context ScoutMarcus Greenwood, CEO, UbioMartha Lane-Fox, Founder, doteveryoneMartijn Verburg, CEO, jClarityMartin Goodson, CEO, Evolution AIMarty Neill, Founder, AirposMatthew Gardiner, Founder, Catch LondonMatthew Painter, Founder CTO, Import.ioMelanie Moeller, Product Lead, Sky SpainMerje Shaw, MD, Path59Michele Cuccovillo, Partner, Rock MissionNatasha Guerra, CEO, Runway EastNeil Cocker, CEO, Ramptshirts.comNic Brisbourne, Managing Partner, Forward PartnersNicholas Katz, CEO, AcasaNick Patterson, Founder, MovemeonNick Saalfeld, Director, Wells Park CommunicationsNuala Murphy, CEO, Moment HealthOisin Lunny, Chief Evangelist, OpenMarketOsvaldo Spadano, Founder & CEO, AkoovaPaul Dempsey, Founder/Director, The Curation CompanyPaul Dyson, CTO, SingletrackPeter Ward, Founder, WAYNPilgrim Beart, CEO, DevicePilotPriya Prakash, Founder, D4SCRaj Anand, CEO & Cofounder, Goodman LanternRaph Crouan, CEO & Founder, Startupbootcamp IoTRiaz Kanani, MD & Founder, Radiate B2BRichard Marr, Cofounder, Be AppliedRob Elkin, CTO, BusuuRob O'Donovan, Ceo, Charlie HRRob Prevett, Co Founder & CEO, D/SRUPTIONRobin Grant, Chairman & Co-founder, We Are SocialRoger Nolan, Founder, The Culture TripRoger Nolan, SVP Tech, Culture TripRupert Baines, CEO, UltraSoCSachin Dev Duggal, Founder, Engineer.aiSimon Bennett, Founding Director, Roll7Simon Murdoch, Founder, Episode1 PartnersSt John Deakins, Founder & CEO, CitizenMeStephen Johnston, Founder, FordcastleStephen Roberts, Founder, Vigilant ResearchSue Keogh, Founder, SookioSultan Saidov, Co Founder, CPO, BeamerySundar Venkitachalam, Co-founder & CTO, nkodaTamara Sword, Founder, TRM&CThanasis Polychronakis, CTO, Alacrity LawThomas Power, Board Member, 9SpokesTim Boughton, CTO, Mention Me LtdTim Fernando, CEO, EsplorioTim Hampson, Co Founder, SalesSeekTim Parlett, Co-Founder of Zopa, N/A (ex Zopa)Timothy Brownstone, CEO, KYMIRAToby Beresford, CEO, Rise.globalTom Adeyoola, CEO & Founder, MetailTom Alisi, Director, deep.venturesTom Bradley, Partner, Oxford Capital PartnersTom de Grunwald, Creative Director, MicroclimateTom Watson, Co-Founder & CTO, HubbleTristan Palmer, CEO & CofounderTushar Agarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, HubbleUma Rajah, Cofounder & CEO, CapitalRiseVolker Hirsch, Founder, Blue Beck / Tech North AdvocatesWilliam Reeve, CEO, GoodlordWilliam Roberts, Founder, Loyalty Bay
(Interest declared, I am also a signatory).
Agenda 2030
Pope warns oil executives: Climate change may 'destroy civilization' '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Mon, 11 Jun 2018 03:03
Business WorldPope warns oil executives: Climate change may 'destroy civilization'Pope Francis on Saturday issued a dire warning to top oil executives, saying that climate change could ''destroy civilization.''
At a two-day conference at the Vatican, the pope called climate change a challenge of ''epochal proportions,'' according to Reuters.
He also said that the world must move toward using clean energy and a reduction in the use of fossil fuels.
''Civilization requires energy but energy use must not destroy civilization,'' Francis said.
The conference, organized by the University of Notre Dame in the United States, brought together executives from asset manager BlackRock, BP and Norwegian oil and energy company Equinor, among others '' READ MORE
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fix climate change by having less immigrants
Long-Lost NASA Tapes Solve Decades-Old Mystery Behind Temperature Spike on the Moon
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 11:27
NASA tapes that were missing for almost 40 years may have revealed what caused the surface of the moon to heat up right after flags were planted by the first astronauts.
A team of researchers managed to locate 440 tapes from the Apollo heat flow experiment (HFE) that were ''lost'' due to an archiving error. They used the recovered data collected between January 1975 and September 1977 to piece together clues in the mystery behind the lunar heatwave.
According to their findings, the uptick in the moon's surface temperature was likely caused by the astronauts kicking up too much dust.
The astronauts that traveled to the moon between 1969 and 1972 kicked up so much moon dust that massive areas of darker soil were exposed after likely being covered over the last billions of years, LiveScience reports. In just six years, this soil took in enough radiation from the sun to heat the moon's surface by up to 3.6 degrees.
(MORE: Lava Flows Can Be Seen From Space)
"You can actually see the astronauts' tracks, where they walked," study co-author and Lunar and Planetary Institute senior staff scientist Walter Kiefer told CBC.com. "And we can see where they scuffed dirt up '-- and what it leaves behind is a darker path."
"In other words, the astronauts walking on the moon changed the structure of the regolith,'' Keifer explained, referring to the loose layer of debris found on the surface of the moon.
Additionally, the probes placed closer to the surface picked up higher temperatures than those stuck further down, which suggests the rise in heat began at the surface and not within the planet, according to the scientists.
Photos captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera showed spots near the landing sites of the Apollo that had become covered with streaks where astronauts either walked or drove across the moon's surface, causing dust to move around, LiveScience reports. The researchers believe the moonwalkers' activity threw off the measurements of the probes by changing the environment surrounding them.
''In the process of installing the instruments, you may actually end up disturbing the surface thermal environment of the place where you want to make some measurements," study co-author and Texas Tech University planetary scientist Seiichi Nagihara told the American Geophysical Union. "That kind of consideration certainly goes into the designing of the next generation of instruments that will be someday deployed on the moon."
The researchers discovered the tapes at the Washington National Records Center located in Suitland, Maryland. However, the data only accounts for roughly three months of the temperature records from 1975, LiveScience reports. In order to fill in the gaps of the missing information, the scientists used information from hundreds of the Lunar Planetary Institute's weekly performance logs.
UK Companies & Climate Change
1.
first, an important update: CO2 levels have hit a record
high already and the year isn't even over yet.
ABC News video:
http://www.10news.com/newsy/carbon-dioxide-levels-in-the-atmosphere-hit-record-high-in-2018
2.
let's create a new category of risks to extract more $$$:
Bank of England to intensify climate change scrutiny of
insurers
http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-boe-insurance-regulations/bank-of-england-to-intensify-climate-change-scrutiny-of-insurers-idUKKCN1J30UO
" LONDON (Reuters) - Insurers in Britain face being
tested to see how they could cope with fallout from climate change on their
balance sheets, the Bank of England’s insurance regulator said on Thursday.
"
3.
a new type of shakedown:
Investor LGIM seeks removal of eight company chairs over
climate change inaction
http://ca.investing.com/news/stock-market-news/investor-lgim-seeks-removal-of-eight-company-chairs-over-climate-change-inaction-1173109
" Britain's biggest asset manager wants to remove
the chairmen of the board at eight companies worldwide, which it says have
failed to confront the threats posed by climate change.
Legal & General Investment Management, the fund arm
of insurer Legal & General, has been among the most vocal asset managers on
the topic, recently writing to some of the world's top companies calling for
more action. Monday, it said it would vote against the chairs of China Construction
Bank, Dominion Energy and Japan Post Holdings, as well as Occidental Petroleum,
Rosneft Oil and Subaru. The other two companies on its list were Loblaw
Companies and Sysco Corp. "
4.
same story here:
$26 Trillion Investment Alliance Calls On U.S. And Rest
Of G7 To Scale Up Climate Ambitions
https://web.archive.org/web/20180607092653/https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikescott/2018/06/06/26-trillion-investment-alliance-calls-on-g7-to-scale-up-climate-ambitions/
" The investors, which include Allianz Global
Investors, Aviva Investors, DWS, HSBC Global Asset Management, Nomura Asset
Management, Australian Super, and Calpers, say that they are doing their part
by making significant investments into low-carbon assets, incorporating climate
change scenarios and climate risk management into their investment processes
and engaging with the largest greenhouse gas emitters. "
5.
BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS
Climate refugees have no legal rights – and 200 million
expected by 2050
http://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/06/12/climate-change/climate-refugees-have-no-legal-rights-and-200-million-expected-by-2050/74111/
" 'You will see a humanitarian crisis of biblical
proportions' if there are barriers to climate refugees - Steve Trent "
6.
here's a convenient study that says it's almost
impossible to calculate how many trillions climate change will cost:
The World Is Dangerously Lowballing The Economic Cost Of
Climate Change, Study Finds
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/climate-change-cost_us_5b11bc9de4b010565aac04fa
" “It’s difficult to quantify that,” said study
co-author Thomas Stoerk, an economist at the Environmental Defense Fund, when
asked to give his own estimate. “That’s part of the point of the paper. It
could be a lot more than the consensus.” "
press release:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180603193616.htm
speaking of the Environmental Defense Fund: the EDF has
corporate partnerships with WalMart, McDonald's, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR),
and other big corporations.
They say they don't accept funding from their corporate
partners but they receive funding from the MacArthur Foundation. The MacArthur
Foundation say they gave $44 million to the EDF between 1986 and 2017 but if
you count the numbers on this page they sent almost $38 million to the EDF in
the past four years:
http://www.macfound.org/grantees/284/
Who funds the MacArthur Foundation? I'm sure it's a scam
but I'm not sure how it works.
http://www.macfound.org/about/frequently-asked-questions/
"Q: How does MacArthur raise the funds it needs to
make grants?
A: The Foundation draws on the endowment left by John and
Catherine MacArthur to support its charitable work. We invest the endowment and
give away a portion of it each year. "
"Q: Does MacArthur accept donations?
A: The Foundation does not solicit contributions. We hope
that those interested in making contributions will support our grantees or
other public charities in the fields in which we work."
Global Investment in Wind and Solar Energy Is Outshining Fossil Fuels - WSJ
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 02:15
Global spending on renewable energy is outpacing investment in electricity from coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants, driven by falling costs of producing wind and solar power.
More than half of the power-generating capacity added around the world in recent years has been in renewable sources such as wind and solar, according to the International Energy Agency.
In 2016, the latest year for which data is available, about $297 billion was spent on renewables'--more than twice the $143 billion spent on new nuclear, coal, gas and fuel oil power plants, according to the IEA. The Paris-based organization projects renewables will make up 56% of net generating capacity added through 2025.
Once supported overwhelmingly by cash-back incentives, tax credits and other government incentives, wind- and solar-generation costs have fallen consistently for a decade, making renewable-power investment more competitive.
Renewable costs have fallen so far in the past few years that ''wind and solar now represent the lowest-cost option for generating electricity,'' said Francis O'Sullivan, research director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Energy Initiative.
This is beginning to disrupt the business of making electricity and manufacturing generating equipment. Both General Electric Co. and Siemens AG are grappling with diminished demand for large gas-burning turbines and have announced layoffs. Meanwhile, mostly Asian-based manufacturers of solar panels are flourishing.
In many places, opting for renewables ''is a purely economic choice,'' said Danielle Merfeld, the chief technology officer of GE's renewable energy unit. ''In most places, it is cheaper and other technologies have become more expensive.''
Sustained government support in Europe and other developed economies spurred the development of renewable energy. But costs have fallen for other reasons. China invested heavily in a domestic solar-manufacturing industry, creating a glut of inexpensive solar panels. Innovation helped manufacturers build longer wind-turbine blades, creating machines able to generate substantially more power at a lower cost.
Renewable-energy plants also face fewer challenges than traditional power plants. Nuclear-power plants have been troubled by mostly technical delays, while plants burning fossil fuels face regulatory uncertainties due to concerns about climate change. And pension funds, seeking long-term stable returns, have invested heavily in wind farms and solar parks, allowing developers to get cheaper financing.
''It is just easier to get renewables built,'' said Tony Clark, a former member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. ''There is that much less opposition to it.''
The sustained investment is reshaping how the world's homes and industries are powered. Last year, the percentage of electricity from renewable sources reached 12.1%, more than double that of a decade earlier, according to a joint report by the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and the United Nations Environmental Program. These figures don't include electricity from large hydroelectric dams.
The rise of renewable power generation is raising concerns and sparking a political backlash in the U.S. The Trump administration is weighing actions to subsidize the operation of coal and nuclear plants, arguing that these units are needed for the reliable operation of the power grid.
The proposal, which follows a request for relief by First Energy Corp., an Ohio-based owner of coal and nuclear plants, would hurt renewables and natural gas-fired plants, which have boomed in recent years as the fuel has become cheaper and more plentiful thanks to fracking. An unusual alliance, including renewable-energy groups and the oil-and-gas-industry's American Petroleum Institute, have challenged whether any government aid is really needed.
In the U.S., more than two decades of government tax credits, some of which will soon go away, have propelled renewables. About 17% of the country's electricity last year came from renewable sources, including wind, solar and hydroelectric dams, according to federal data. The government said that just under half of large-scale power generation added was renewable last year.
Last week, Xcel Energy Inc. announced a $2.5 billion plan to add 1,800 megawatts of new wind and solar generation, plus a substantial amount of batteries to store the power. The plan, which needs to be approved by state regulators, would retire 660 megawatts of coal-burning generation and result in savings for consumers, the Minneapolis-based utility said.
''I think, across the nation, you could get to 40% renewable energy,'' said Xcel Chief Executive Ben Fowke. ''Ten years ago, I would have told you 20% was the max.''
Renewable-energy prices are now competitive with fossil-fuel generation in many places. In 2017, the global average cost of electricity from onshore wind was $60 per megawatt hour and $100 for solar, toward the lower end of the $50 to $170 range for new fossil-fuel facilities in developed nations, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
The combination of falling costs and large pools of available capital is also spurring renewables growth in developing countries.
In November, Italy's Enel SpA, a global energy company, won a bid to build power plants in Chile in an auction open to both renewable and fossil-fuel generators. Enel will build wind, solar and geothermal facilities and sell power from the facilities at about $32.50 per megawatt hour, an unsubsidized rate that is lower than the cost of natural gas or coal to burn in existing plants.
Recent power auctions have suggested that renewable energy prices have further to fall. Earlier this year, an auction in Saudi Arabia awarded a contract to build a 300-megawatt solar facility for $17.90 a megawatt hour. Very low labor costs in the Middle East and India are resulting in record-breaking low bids for solar.
A Mexican auction last year drew international bids for power at an unsubsidized price of below $21 per megawatt hour. That was substantially below the spot market price for electricity, which averaged around $70 per megawatt hour last year, said Veronica Irastorza, an associate director of economic consulting firm NERA and a former Mexican undersecretary of energy planning.
''Renewables are going to be able to compete with thermal plants. They will be incorporated into the system faster than I thought five years ago,'' she said.
In Canada, an auction in Alberta in December awarded four wind contracts for an average of $37 a megawatt hour, subsidy-free. The Albertan government planned to award contracts for only 400 megawatts, but bumped it up to 600 megawatts when it saw the prices offered, which were slightly below the average price for electricity on the province's grid in 2018.
In India, the push into solar has been driven partly by a desire for cleaner energy sources, but also because there is more financing available for solar than for coal, said Rahul Tongia, a fellow at Fellow at Brookings India in New Delhi.
Renewable output varies, based on when the sun is shining and wind is blowing, and cannot always be dispatched when needed like a coal or gas plant. That can pose a challenge to grid operators.
But industry observers say that is now a concern only in certain markets, such as California, where renewable penetration is at its highest.
''We could see aggressive build rates for several years to come before we see issues in many markets,'' said Tom Heggarty, an analyst with energy consultant Wood Mackenzie. ''Ten, 20 years down the line, it might be a different story.''
Write to Russell Gold at russell.gold@wsj.com
G7
Trump just backed out of the G7 communique: Read the full text of the agreement
Sun, 10 Jun 2018 22:17
| June 09, 2018 09:06 PM
Shortly after German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the G-7 members, including the U.S., had agreed to sign a new 2018 communique, President Trump announced that wouldn't be the case.
Trump instructed U.S. officials not to sign the agreement during his Saturday flight to Singapore.
You can still read the full text of the agreement below.
THE CHARLEVOIX G7 SUMMIT COMMUNIQUE
We, the Leaders of the G7, have come together in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada on June 8''9, 2018, guided by our shared values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and our commitment to promote a rules-based international order. As advanced economies and leading democracies, we share a fundamental commitment to investing in our citizens and meeting their needs and to responding to global challenges. We collectively affirm our strong determination to achieve a clean environment, clean air and clean water. We are resolved to work together in creating a healthy, prosperous, sustainable and fair future for all. Investing in Growth that Works for Everyone
We share the responsibility of working together to stimulate sustainable economic growth that benefits everyone and, in particular, those most at risk of being left behind. We welcome the contribution of technological change and global integration to global economic recovery and increased job creation. The global economic outlook continues to improve, but too few citizens have benefited from that economic growth. While resilience against risk has improved among emerging market economies, recent market movements remind us of potential vulnerabilities. We will continue monitoring market developments and using all policy tools to support strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth that generates widespread prosperity. We reaffirm our existing exchange rate commitments. We commit to promoting smart, sustainable and high-quality investments, such as in infrastructure, to boost growth and productivity and create quality jobs. Economic growth is fundamental to raising living standards. We also recognize that economic output alone is insufficient for measuring success and acknowledge the importance of monitoring other societal and economic indicators that measure prosperity and well-being. We are committed to removing the barriers that keep our citizens, including women and marginalized individuals, from participating fully in the global economy. We endorse the Charlevoix Commitment on Equality and Economic Growth,which reinforces our commitment to eradicate poverty, advance gender equality, foster income equality, ensure better access to financial resources and create decent work and quality of life for all. In order to ensure that everyone pays their fair share, we will exchange approaches and support international efforts to deliver fair, progressive, effective and efficient tax systems. We will continue to fight tax evasion and avoidance by promoting the global implementation of international standards and addressing base erosion and profit shifting. The impacts of the digitalization of the economy on the international tax system remain key outstanding issues. We welcome the OECD interim report analyzing the impact of digitalization of the economy on the international tax system. We are committed to work together to seek a consensus-based solution by 2020. We acknowledge that free, fair and mutually beneficial trade and investment, while creating reciprocal benefits, are key engines for growth and job creation. We recommit to the conclusions on trade of the Hamburg G20 Summit, in particular, we underline the crucial role of a rules-based international trading system and continue to fight protectionism. We note the importance of bilateral, regional and plurilateral agreements being open, transparent, inclusive and WTO-consistent, and commit to working to ensure they complement the multilateral trade agreements. We commit to modernize the WTO to make it more fair as soon as possible. We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies. We will work together to enforce existing international rules and develop new rules where needed to foster a truly level playing field, addressing in particular non-market oriented policies and practices, and inadequate protection of intellectual property rights, such as forced technology transfer or cyber-enabled theft. We call for the start of negotiations '' this year '' to develop stronger international rules on market-distorting industrial subsidies and trade-distorting actions by state-owned enterprises. We also call on all members of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity to fully and promptly implement its recommendations. We stress the urgent need to avoid excess capacity in other sectors such as aluminum and high technology. We call on the International Working Group on Export Credits to develop a new set of guidelines for government-supported export credits, as soon as possible in 2019. To support growth and equal participation that benefits everyone, and ensure our citizens lead healthy and productive lives, we commit to supporting strong, sustainable health systems that promote access to quality and affordable healthcare and to bringing greater attention to mental health. We support efforts to promote and protect women's and adolescents' health and well-being through evidence-based healthcare and health information. We recognize the World Health Organization's vital role in health emergencies, including through the Contingency Fund for Emergencies and the World Bank's Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, and emphasize their need for further development and continued and sustainable financing. We recommit to support our 76 partners to strengthen their implementation of the International Health Regulations, including through their development of costed national action plans and the use of diverse sources of financing and multi-stakeholder resources. We will prioritize and coordinate our global efforts to fight against antimicrobial resistance, in a ''one health'' approach. We will accelerate our efforts to end tuberculosis, and its resistant forms. We reconfirm our resolve to work with partners to eradicate polio and effectively manage the post-polio transition. We affirm our support for a successful replenishment of the Global Fund in 2019. Public finance, including official development assistance and domestic resource mobilization, is necessary to work towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, but alone is insufficient to support the economic growth and sustainable development necessary to lift all populations from poverty. As a result, we have committed to the Charlevoix Commitment on Innovative Financing for Development to promote economic growth in developing economies and foster greater equality of opportunity within and between countries. We will continue to invest in quality infrastructure with open access. Given rising debt levels in low income countries and the importance of debt sustainability, we call for greater debt transparency not only from low income debtor countries, but also emerging sovereign lenders and private creditors. We support the ongoing work of the Paris Club, as the principal international forum for restructuring official bilateral debt, towards the broader inclusion of emerging creditors. We recognize the value in development and humanitarian assistance that promotes greater equality of opportunity, and gender equality, and prioritizes the most vulnerable, and will continue to work to develop innovative financing models to ensure that no one is left behind. Preparing for Jobs of the Future
We are resolved to ensure that all workers have access to the skills and education necessary to adapt and prosper in the new world of work brought by innovation through emerging technologies. We will promote innovation through a culture of lifelong learning among current and future generations of workers. We will expand market-driven training and education, particularly for girls and women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. We recognize the need to remove barriers to women's leadership and equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of the labour market, including by eliminating violence, discrimination and harassment within and beyond the workplace. We will explore innovative new approaches to apprenticeship and vocational learning, as well as opportunities to engage employers and improve access to workplace training. We highlight the importance of working towards making social protection more effective and efficient and creating quality work environments for workers, including those in non-standard forms of work. Expanding communication and collaboration between governments and businesses, social partners, educational institutions and other relevant stakeholders will be essential for preparing workers to adapt and thrive in the new world of work. To realize the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI), we endorse the Charlevoix Common Vision for the Future of Artificial Intelligence. We recognize that a human-centric approach to AI has the potential to introduce new sources of economic growth, bring significant benefits to our societies and help address some of our most pressing challenges. Advancing Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment
We recognize that gender equality is fundamental for the fulfillment of human rights and is a social and economic imperative. However, gender inequality persists despite decades of international commitments to eliminate these differences. We will continue to work to remove barriers to women's participation and decision-making in social, economic and political spheres as well as increase the opportunities for all to participate equally in all aspects of the labour market. Our path forward will promote women's full economic participation through working to reduce the gender wage gap, supporting women business leaders and entrepreneurs and recognizing the value of unpaid care work. Equal access to quality education is vital to achieve the empowerment and equal opportunity of girls and women, especially in developing contexts and countries struggling with conflict. Through the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries, we demonstrate our commitment to increase opportunities for at least 12 years of safe and quality education for all and to dismantle the barriers to girls' and women's quality education, particularly in emergencies and in conflict-affected and fragile states. We recognize that marginalized girls, such as those with a disability, face additional barriers in attaining access to education. Advancing gender equality and ending violence against girls and women benefits all and is a shared responsibility in which everyone, including men and boys, has a critical role to play. We endorse the Charlevoix Commitment to End Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Abuse and Harassment in Digital Contexts, and are resolved to end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence. We strive for a future where individuals' human rights are equally protected both offline and online; and where everyone has equal opportunity to participate in political, social, economic and cultural endeavors. Building a More Peaceful and Secure World
We share a responsibility to build a more peaceful and secure world, recognizing that respect for human rights, the rule of law and equality of opportunity are necessary for lasting security and to enable economic growth that works for everyone. The global security threats we face are complex and evolving and we commit to working together to counter terrorism. We welcome the outcome of the international conference on the fight against terrorist financing, held in Paris April 25-26, 2018. Foreign terrorist fighters must be held accountable for their actions. We are committed to addressing the use of the internet for terrorist purposes, including as a tool for recruitment, training, propaganda and financing, and by working with partners such as the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. We underscore the importance of taking concrete measures to eradicate trafficking in persons, forced labour, child labour and all forms of slavery, including modern slavery. Recognizing that countries that are more equal are also more stable, more peaceful and more democratic, we are resolved to strengthen the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. Gender-sensitive measures that include women's participation and perspectives to prevent and eradicate terrorism are vital to effective and sustainable results, protection from sexual and gender-based violence, and preventing other human rights abuses and violations. We commit to take concerted action in responding to foreign actors who seek to undermine our democratic societies and institutions, our electoral processes, our sovereignty and our security as outlined in the Charlevoix Commitment on Defending Democracy from Foreign Threats. We recognize that such threats, particularly those originating from state actors, are not just threats to G7 nations, but to international peace and security and the rules-based international order. We call on others to join us in addressing these growing threats by increasing the resilience and security of our institutions, economies and societies, and by taking concerted action to identify and hold to account those who would do us harm. We continue to call on North Korea to completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle all of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles as well as its related programs and facilities. We acknowledge recent developments, including North Korea's announcement of a moratorium on nuclear testing and ballistic missile launches, a commitment to denuclearization made in the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration '' assuming full implementation '' and the apparent closure of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site on May 24; but we reiterate the importance of full denuclearization. The dismantlement of all of its WMD and ballistic missiles will lead to a more positive future for all people on the Korean Peninsula and a chance of prosperity for the people of North Korea, who have suffered for too long. However, more must be done and we call on all states to maintain strong pressure, including through the full implementation of relevant UNSCRs, to urge North Korea to change its course and take decisive and irreversible steps. In this context, we once again call upon North Korea to respect the human rights of its people and resolve the abductions issue immediately We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing behaviour to undermine democratic systems and its support of the Syrian regime. We condemn the attack using a military-grade nerve agent in Salisbury, United Kingdom. We share and agree with the United Kingdom's assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the attack, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation. We urge Russia to live up to its international obligations, as well as its responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to uphold international peace and security. Notwithstanding, we will continue to engage with Russia on addressing regional crises and global challenges, where it is in our interests. We reiterate our condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and reaffirm our enduring support for Ukrainian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized borders. We maintain our commitment to assisting Ukraine in implementing its ambitious and necessary reform agenda. We recall that the continuation of sanctions is clearly linked to Russia's failure to demonstrate complete implementation of its commitments in the Minsk Agreements and respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and we fully support the efforts within the Normandy Format and of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for a solution to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Should its actions so require, we also stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase costs on Russia. We remain committed to support Russian civil society and to engage and invest in people-to-people contact. We strongly condemn the murderous brutality of Daesh and its oppression of civilian populations under its control. As an international community, we remain committed to the eradication of Daesh and its hateful ideology. In Syria, we also condemn the repeated and morally reprehensible use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and by Daesh. We call on the supporters of the regime to ensure compliance with its obligation to declare and dismantle remaining chemical weapons. We deplore the fact that Syria assumed the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament in May, given its consistent and flagrant disregard of international non-proliferation norms and agreements. We reaffirm our collective commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention and call on all states to support the upcoming Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Special Conference of States Parties and to work together to strengthen the ability of the OPCW to promote the implementation of the Convention. We call upon those who have yet to do so to join the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons. We call for credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance in Syria, facilitated by free and fair elections held to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate. We remain concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas and reiterate our strong opposition to any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order. We urge all parties to pursue demilitarization of disputed features. We are committed to taking a strong stance against human rights abuse, human trafficking and corruption across the globe, especially as it impacts vulnerable populations, and we call upon the international community to take strong action against these abuses all over the world. We welcome the recent commitments made by Myanmar and we pledge to coordinate efforts to build lasting peace and support democratic transition in Myanmar, particularly in the context of the ongoing Rohingya crisis, to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access and the safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees and displaced people. We are deeply concerned about the lack of respect for human rights and basic democratic principles in Venezuela, as well as the spiraling economic crisis and its humanitarian repercussions. We express our concern at the continuous deterioration of the situation in Yemen and renew our call for all parties to fully comply with international humanitarian law and human rights law. Recognizing the threat Iran's ballistic missile program poses to international peace and security, we call upon Iran to refrain from launches of ballistic missiles and all other activities which are inconsistent with UNSCR 2231 '' including all annexes '' and destabilizing for the region, and cease proliferation of missile technology. We are committed to permanently ensuring that Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful, in line with its international obligations and commitments to never seek, develop or acquire a nuclear weapon. We condemn all financial support of terrorism including terrorist groups sponsored by Iran. We also call upon Iran to play a constructive role by contributing to efforts to counter terrorism and achieve political solutions, reconciliation and peace in the region. We remain concerned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially in the light of recent events. We support the resumption without delay of substantive peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians aimed at achieving a negotiated solution that ensures the peace and security for both parties. We stress the importance of addressing as soon as possible the dire and deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in the Gaza strip. Africa's security, stability, and sustainable development are high priorities for us, and we reiterate our support for African-led initiatives, including at a regional level. We reiterate our commitment to work in partnership with the African continent, supporting the African Union Agenda 2063 in order to realize Africa's potential. We will promote African capabilities to better prevent, respond to, and manage crisis and conflicts; and to strengthen democratic institutions. We reiterate our commitment to the stabilization, unity and democracy of Libya, which is key for the stability of the Mediterranean region and of Europe. We support the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Salam(C) in pursuing an inclusive political process founded on his Action Plan and we encourage all Libyan and regional actors to uphold their constructive engagement as outlined in the June 6, 2018 statement of the President of the Security Council on Libya. We support the efforts of the Presidency Council for Libya and the Libyan Government of National Accord to consolidate State institutions. Working Together on Climate Change, Oceans and Clean Energy
A healthy planet and sustainable economic growth are mutually beneficial, and therefore, we are pursuing global efforts towards a sustainable and resilient future that creates jobs for our citizens. We firmly support the broad participation and leadership of young people, girls and women in promoting sustainable development. We collectively affirm our strong determination to achieve a clean environment, clean air, clean water and healthy soil. We commit to ongoing action to strengthen our collective energy security and demonstrate leadership in ensuring that our energy systems continue to drive sustainable economic growth. We recognise that each country may chart its own path to achieving a low-emission future. We look forward to adopting a common set of guidelines at UNFCCC COP 24. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union reaffirm their strong commitment to implement the Paris Agreement, through ambitious climate action; in particular through reducing emissions while stimulating innovation, enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening and financing resilience and reducing vulnerability; as well as ensuring a just transition, including increasing efforts to mobilize climate finance from a wide variety of sources. We discussed the key role of energy transitions through the development of market based clean energy technologies and the importance of carbon pricing, technology collaboration and innovation to continue advancing economic growth and protect the environment as part of sustainable, resilient and low-carbon energy systems; as well as financing adaptive capacity. We reaffirm the commitment that we have made to our citizens to reduce air and water pollution and our greenhouse gas emissions to reach a global carbon-neutral economy over the course of the second half of the century. We welcome the adoption by the UN General Assembly of a resolution titled Towards a Global Pact for the Environment and look forward to the presentation of a report by the Secretary General in the next General Assembly. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union will promote the fight against climate change through collaborative partnerships and work with all relevant partners, in particular all levels of government; local, Indigenous, remote coastal and small island communities; as well as with the private sector, international organizations and civil society to identify and assess policy gaps, needs and best practices. We recognize the contribution of the One Planet conferences to this collective effort. The United States believes sustainable economic growth and development depends on universal access to affordable and reliable energy resources. It commits to ongoing action to strengthen the world's collective energy security, including through policies that facilitates open, diverse, transparent, liquid and secure global markets for all energy sources. The United States will continue to promote energy security and economic growth in a manner that improves the health of the world's oceans and environment, while increasing public-private investments in energy infrastructure and technology that advances the ability of countries to produce, transport, and use all available energy sources based on each country's national circumstances. The United States will endeavour to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and help deploy renewable and other clean energy sources, given the importance of energy access and security in their Nationally Determined Contributions. The United States believes in the key role of energy transitions through the development of market-based clean energy technologies and the importance of technology collaboration and innovation to continue advancing economic growth and protect the environment as part of sustainable, resilient, and clean energy systems. The United States reiterates its commitment to advancing sustainable economic growth, and underscores the importance of continued action to reduce air and water pollution. Recognizing that healthy oceans and seas directly support the livelihoods, food security and economic prosperity of billions of people, we met with the heads of state or government of the Argentina, Bangladesh, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Marshall Islands, Norway, Rwanda (Chair of the African Union), Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Vietnam, and the heads of the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD, to discuss concrete actions to protect the health of marine environments and ensure a sustainable use of marine resources as part of a renewed agenda to increase global biodiversity protection. We endorse the Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities, and will improve oceans knowledge, promote sustainable oceans and fisheries, support resilient coasts and coastal communities and address ocean plastic waste and marine litter. Recognizing that plastics play an important role in our economy and daily lives but that the current approach to producing, using, managing and disposing of plastics and poses a significant threat to the marine environment, to livelihoods and potentially to human health, we the Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the European Union endorse the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter. Conclusion
We share the responsibility of working together to stimulate sustainable economic growth that benefits everyone, in particular, those most at risk of being left behind. We would like to thank our citizens, civil society, the Gender Equality Advisory Council, the Formal G7 Engagement Groups and other partners for their meaningful input to Canada's presidency. We welcome the offer of the President of France to host our next Summit in 2019 and his pledge to continue G7 leadership on our common agenda.
Angela Merkel's G7 Photo Went Viral. Here's The Photo She Didn't Share - The Daily Caller
Mon, 11 Jun 2018 10:04
June 10th, 2018
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to U.S. President Donald Trump during the second day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018. Bundesregierung/Jesco Denzel/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1317D64070/Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and G7 leaders Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, and U.S. President Donald Trump discuss the joint communique following a breakfast meeting on the second day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018. Adam Scotti/Prime Minister's Office/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC1BCA7B7B00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel shared a photo that quickly went viral as the G7 Summit came to a close. But there was another photo, taken from the same angle within a few minutes, that she chose not to share.
The photo that Merkel shared showed her leaning across a table looking stern while President Donald Trump sat back, crossing his arms.
Merkel captioned the photo as a ''spontaneous meeting between two working sessions,'' and multiple media outlets quickly picked it up. Seizing on Merkel's expression, many reimagined the photo to be depicting her dressing down President Trump.
But another photo, taken from the same angle just moments from the one Merkel chose to share, depicted a very different scene. An engaged President Trump leaned forward as Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau smiled. (RELATED: President Trump Slams 'Dishonest And Weak' G7 Performance From Trudeau)
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and G7 leaders Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, and U.S. President Donald Trump discuss the joint communique following a breakfast meeting on the second day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018. Adam Scotti/Prime Minister's Office/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS '' THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. '' RC1BCA7B7B00
Virginia KrutaContributor
Diesel Gate
Daimler forced to recall Mercedes with defeat devices - BBC News
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 10:26
Image copyright Getty Images The German government has ordered car maker Daimler to recall 238,000 vehicles in Germany after they were found to be fitted with illegal software that masks diesel emissions.
Across Europe a total of 774,000 diesel vehicles contain "defeat devices" and Daimler said it would recall them all.
The diesel versions of the Mercedes C-Class, Vito and GLC models are the main ones affected, the ministry said.
Daimler said it would refit the software but denied any wrongdoing.
It comes three years after VW admitted having fitted "cheat" devices in vehicles that made their engines appear less polluting than they actually were.
About eleven million cars worldwide were affected in that case.
Image copyright Getty Images German transport minister Andreas Scheuer said the ministry and Daimler had "negotiated intensively for many hours" on Monday.
Afterwards he said the ministry had ordered the "immediate" recall of Daimler models in Germany because they contained "illegal shutdown devices".
"Daimler states that it will, at maximum speed and with co-operative transparency with the authorities, remove the applications in the engine control system which the government objects to," he said.
The Transport Ministry only has authority to force the recall of vehicles within Germany.
Legality questionedDaimler refused to elaborate on where the other vehicles would be recalled. It also said the legality of the software would still need to be clarified.
Earlier Daimler chairman, Dieter Zetsche, had said a technical solution had been found to the software problems and that he did not expect the company to be fined.
It is not the first time Daimler has faced problems with its emissions software. Last year it retrofitted three million Mercedes diesel cars built since 2011, but did not call the exercise a recall.
Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said the recall would not harm the company.
"The criticised software is part of engine management and so called auxiliary emissions control devices [which can turn off emissions controls during driving for other reasons, such as to protect the engine].
"We don't see any evidence that Daimler was designing software to deliberately cheat on emission testing."
Other car makers have been found to have fitted defeat devices.
BMW recalled 12,000 diesel cars over the issue in February, while Porsche recalled 60,000 in May. Neither admitted wrongdoing.
CYBER!
Tech Giants Play the DC Influence Game to Win Pentagon Cloud Deal
Mon, 11 Jun 2018 11:04
June 5, 2018
Illustration by POGO.
In a few months, the Department of Defense (DoD) will pick a company to build a cloud computing system for the U.S. military. The prize is a two-year contract that could end up being extended for a full decade and be worth billions of dollars. The winner could also obtain a virtual monopoly over the federal cloud-computing market for the foreseeable future.
The odds-on favorite to win the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract is Amazon Web Services, which currently manages a $600 million cloud system for the intelligence agencies and, through its network of ''partners,'' already has a stake in other federal cloud projects. Amazon's dominant market position and past experience hosting sensitive government data give it a solid advantage over its primary competitors'--Leidos, General Dynamics, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, and Google. Despite pleas from these companies, who fear Amazon may have the inside track, DoD will not waiver from its plan to award JEDI as a winner-take-all, single-vendor contract.
Amazon is no longer an upstart online bookseller from Seattle. The company has taken its place among the federal government's contracting heavyweights, employing the traditional methods of Washington influence in its quest to land the JEDI contract.
Amazon's political action committee has given over $1 million in campaign donations to federal candidates in the past two election cycles, doling out the money to both parties in nearly equal shares. The company has spent over $37 million on lobbying since 2015, getting face time with Members of Congress and officials in the executive departments on matters involving cloud computing and myriad other issues. Those efforts appear to have paid off last year with the passage of the so-called ''Amazon amendment,'' a provision tucked into the defense authorization bill that will establish a program facilitating government purchasing through e-commerce portals like Amazon.com.
Amazon has also been taking advantage of the revolving door, hiring its share of former government officials. According to the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics, 59 of Amazon's 90 lobbyists (not all of whom worked, or are working, on cloud or IT issues) are ''revolvers'' who had previously worked for the federal government. Scott Renda, who oversaw an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cloud computing initiative during his tenure in the Obama Administration, joined Amazon Web Services in 2014. Former Obama White House press secretary Jay Carney became Amazon's senior vice president for global corporate affairs in 2015. Former U.S. Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung left the White House in 2016 to lead the government affairs division of Amazon Business. Rung spent two years as the leader of OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy, which plays a central role in shaping how the government purchases goods and services.
From the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the company enlisted the lobbying services of former Senators John Breaux (D-LA) and Trent Lott (R-MS) and former Congressional staffer Rich Beutel. Beutel, the former lead staff member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was once described as ''a player at the forefront of cyber [and] contracting.'' Between 2015 and March 2018, Beutel represented Amazon Web Services before Congress and the White House on a range of issues, including cloud acquisition and deployment. Amazon Web Services was also a client of Sally Donnelly, a well-connected political consultant who recently served as a senior adviser to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and was a consultant on the Defense Business Board, a DoD advisory panel of private-sector executives.
Amazon placed targeted advertisements for its cloud service in Washington, DC's Pentagon metro station ahead of the Department of Defense awarding the JEDI contract. (Photo: POGO)
For added measure, Amazon is making its presence known on local magazine covers and on the walls and floors of the Washington Metro. This public relations blitz may actually be targeting two audiences: the DoD officials who will choose the winner of the JEDI contract, and local politicians in DC and the neighboring suburbs in Maryland and Virginia hoping to be chosen as the site of the company's second corporate headquarters.
Amazon placed targeted advertisements for its cloud service in Washington, DC's Pentagon metro station ahead of the Department of Defense awarding the JEDI contract. (Photo: POGO)
However, victory for Amazon is not a foregone conclusion. The competing tech and defense heavyweights also know how to play the influence game. Most of the companies'--particularly General Dynamics and Google'--are keeping pace with Amazon's level of spending on elections and lobbyists. The revolving door spins just as rapidly at Amazon's competitors: more than three-quarters of Microsoft's 90 lobbyists previously worked in the federal government, while the board of directors of Leidos currently boasts former senior Pentagon officials Gregory Dahlberg and Frank Kendall. The revolving door took a big turn in the other direction last year at General Dynamics when James Mattis left the company's board to become Secretary of Defense.
Meanwhile, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Google vice president Milo Medin, and Microsoft board member Reid Hoffman serve on the Defense Innovation Board, where they advise DoD on technology and acquisition matters. Oracle CEO Safra Catz was a member of the Trump transition team. She recently got a chance to discuss the JEDI competition at a private dinner with President Trump, who has made no secret of his animosity toward Amazon. Perhaps Catz or someone else at the dinner mentioned that she and four other Oracle executives made a total of nearly $35,000 in campaign donations to one of the President's staunchest supporters in Congress: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA). Oracle is reportedly leading a campaign with other tech companies to ''unseat Amazon as the front-runner'' for the JEDI contract.
DoD will award the JEDI contract in late September. For the next few months, Amazon and its competitors will flood the Washington area with lobbyists, campaign donations, attractive job offers, and eye-catching advertisements. The millions they spend now could pay off in the billions later.
In the meantime, we need to ask two important questions. First, is it a good idea to award the contract to a single vendor? The DoD reasons that scattering data across multiple cloud systems would inhibit the ability to access and analyze critical data, and that it has ''multiple mechanisms'' in place to prevent a monopoly. However, tech and federal procurement experts dispute the government's justifications for making JEDI a single-award contract.
Second, should the government do more to develop an in-house capability to run a cloud system? The DoD will likely pay significantly more for a contractor to operate and manage the system, over which the contractor will retain exclusive ownership rights. Ten years is an uncomfortably long period of time to entrust such a vital function to one private company.
Neil Gordon is an investigator for the Project On Government Oversight. Neil investigates and maintains POGO's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.
Topics: Contract Oversight
Related Content: Lobbying, Conflicts of Interest, Campaign Finance, Federal Acquisition, Revolving Door, Contractor Misconduct, Department of Defense (DOD), Federal Contractor Misconduct, Competition in Federal Contracting, Defense
Authors: Neil Gordon
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Apple to close iPhone security loophole used by law enforcement | TheHill
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 23:33
Apple said Wednesday that it's closing a security loophole that many law enforcement agencies use to break into phones and other devices.
The company plans to upgrade its products' security with a software update that disables the device's charging and data port one hour after it's locked. While phones can still charge in that window, a phone's owner must log in with their password, fingerprint or a face scan to transfer data.
Law enforcement had previously been able to break into and obtain data from phones by connecting them to devices running special software, bypassing the phone's security features. After an hour, law enforcement won't be able to use such devices.
Apple said its changes were made with criminals in mind who can exploit the same vulnerabilities as law enforcement to break into stolen phones.
"We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don't design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs," an Apple spokesperson said over email.
The company stressed that it made the changes with its consumers in mind first.
The new changes could stoke another round of debate between Apple and law enforcement. The two have battled over Apple's encryption on its devices, which makes it difficult for law enforcement agencies to break into and get data from phones they procure.
The conflict hit its public apex in 2014 after the FBI took Apple to court in an effort to compel it to break into the phone of a gunman who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif.
Apple CEO Tim Cook defended the company's decision saying, among other arguments, that weakening encryption gives criminals and other malicious actors an easier way to break into phones.
Elite$
Bilderberg and Colorado's Governor John Hickenloper
John Hickenlooper, the Governor of Colorado was at the
latest Bilderberg meeting:
http://www.bilderbergmeetings.org/participants.html
It looks like he's the only american politician who
attended. In this two years old video (5 minutes) he bashes Donald Trump:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfV9pRhR3Lc
What does he have? The legalization of marijuana in
Colorado? Is that how the Democrats and the Globalists want to take back the
Presidency? Get a Marijuana Candidate and have him run against Donald Trump?
Behind the scenes, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper inches
toward 2020 presidential race
http://www.denverpost.com/2018/03/12/hickenlooper-colorado-president-2020/
John Hickenlooper on the Future of Weed, the 2020 Race,
and What's Happening at the 'Denver Post'
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/hickenlooper-2020-denver-post-w518721
Talking Tubes
Mozilla Scout is a voice controlled browser
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 23:20
Charles Platiau/Reuters Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation Mozilla, the creator of the popular Firefox web browser, is in the early stages of creating a brand-new browser controlled entirely by voice.The project, which will named Scout, would allow users browse the internet with voice commands and have it read to you - like "Hey Scout, read me the article about polar bears."Mozilla calls Scout an "early stage project." Mozilla, the creator of Firefox, is working on a browser controlled entirely with your voice, CNET reported Wednesday.
The project, which will be named Scout, would let users explore the web without using a touch screen, a mouse, or a keyboard. The non-profit imagines a sample command sounding something like, "Hey Scout, read me the article about polar bears," CNET reported.
Scout was revealed for the first time to employees during an all-hands meeting on Wednesday, but additional d etails about how the browser would work are scarce. A Mozilla spokesperson told Business Insider that Scout was an "early stage project."
"We look forward to discussing these efforts publicly when they are further developed," the spokesperson added.
While Amazon, Google, and Apple are pushing forward with voice assistants, including Amazon's popular Alexa, Mozilla would be the first to start seriously developing a voice-based web browser. It's another sign of how voice is going to be one of the major ways you interact with computers in the not-so-distant future.
You can read the full CNET story here.
SEE ALSO: A startup in the West Coast scooter-sharing craze is already worth $1 billion '-- and it's raising again at a $2 billion valuation NOW WATCH: Popular Videos from Insider Inc.
Clips
VIDEO - Fire engulfs warehouse storing Iraq election ballots in latest setback for troubled vote - The Washington Post
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 14:28
BAGHDAD '-- A fire engulfed a depot on Sunday where ballots from Iraq's national election were being stored ahead of a full manual recount, the latest setback for a process that had already been mired in accusations of fraud and other violations.
The blaze created black plumes that could be seen for miles around the capital. There were fears that the destruction of ballots further risks the legitimacy of last month's election, which saw a major shift in Iraq's political order.
Saad Maan, a spokesman for Iraq's Interior Ministry, said the fire had broken out in a warehouse where electronic voting machines and some ballot boxes were stored. He said that it was one of four storage facilities for ballots on the site, belonging to Iraq's Trade Ministry, and that the three depots with the majority of returns had been spared.
The cause of the fire is unknown, he said, and will be investigated once the blaze is contained by the nine teams of firefighters at the scene in the Rasafa district of Baghdad.
The warehouses contained ballots from the largest voting district in the capital.
It was not immediately clear how the damage would affect the results of the election, which have been called into question amid persistent claims of significant irregularities and mismanagement.
A fire truck arrives at the scene of a blaze Sunday at a warehouse in Baghdad storing ballots from Iraq's parliamentary elections. (Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images)Salim al-Jubouri, the outgoing speaker of parliament who lost his seat in the election, called for an entire redo of the vote because of the fire.
The fire broke out on the same day that a panel of judges had been formed to officially take over the election recount from the ostensibly autonomous Independent High Electoral Commission, the body that administered the vote and had since come under intense criticism for its performance.
Last week, Iraq's parliament voted to dismiss the commissioners and replace them with judges while calling for a full hand recount of about 11 million votes. Some parties condemned the measure, saying it was spearheaded by groups of lawmakers who had lost their seats.
A ticket backed by the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a longtime opponent of American influence in Iraq, won the most seats in the initial count, with 54 out of 329 '-- placing him in prime position to select the nation's next leader. A coalition of figures from influential Shiite militias placed second with 47 seats.
Iraq's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, whose ticket had placed third in the May 12 election, approved the move for the recount, saying the electoral commission was to blame for what he described as widespread irregularities.
Before the parliament had acted, the electoral commission said it was voiding 1,021 ballot boxes from throughout the country, along with votes cast by Iraqis abroad and Iraqis still living in displacement camps that were set up during the battles against the Islamic State.
The commission did not say why it was nullifying those votes or detail any of the discrepancies it had apparently discovered, ­fueling suspicion by voters and political parties over its administration of the tightly contested election.
In the days after the election, reports of fraud began to emerge, primarily from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, while voters nationwide complained about difficulties using the electronic voting machines that were being used for the first time.
The United Nations had expressed concern over the allegations and urged the electoral commission to conduct a speedy and transparent investigation.
Coupled with the historically low turnout of about 45 percent, the allegations of violations cast an unflattering spotlight on the election '-- Iraq's first since the Islamic State took over and subsequently lost nearly one-third of the country's territory.
Ahead of Sunday's fire, the recount was not expected to significantly alter the final results of the elections but did promise to further delay the lengthy coalition-building process that is required to form a new government.
Abadi and the current parliament's term is set to expire June 30, but it is increasingly unlikely that a new government will be in place by the deadline. The top finishers had already been in talks about forming governing coalitions that could result in Abadi being elected to a second term as a consensus candidate.
Read more:
During wait for Iraqi election results, political blocs scramble for influence
How Moqtada al-Sadr went from anti-American outlaw to potential kingmaker in Iraq
Iraq's prime minister is making electoral history in the former jewel of the Islamic State
Today's coverage from Post correspondents around the world
Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news
VIDEO - VIDEO: Robert De Niro's Unedited 'F*ck Trump' Rant at Tony Awards, Gets Standing Ovation '' True PunditTrue Pundit
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 14:19
Entertainment PoliticsVIDEO: Robert De Niro's Unedited 'F*ck Trump' Rant at Tony Awards, Gets Standing OvationRobert De Niro whipped the Tony Awards crowd up Sunday night, echoing a message originated by Andrew McCabe:
Fuck Trump.
The crowd loved it. And why shouldn't they?
These are the same degenerates who protect the likes of Harvey Weinstein and his ilk in the entertainment industry.
Here's video of DeNiro swearing at Trump on #TonyAwards Australian feed didnt censor it. pic.twitter.com/KZNrT8UIyH
'-- Rhett Bartlett (@dialmformovies) June 11, 2018
Help Support True Pundit's Independent Voice by Contributing Today!FOLLOW US!
VIDEO - Carbon Dioxide Levels In The Atmosphere Hit Record High In 2018 - Newsy Story
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 13:06
Carbon dioxide '-- the main driver of global warming in the atmosphere '-- hit another record high this year.
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography say the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere passed an average of 410 parts per million in April and May '-- when concentration of the gas is at its peak '-- at NOAA's Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii.
Parts per million is a way of measuring how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere. In this case it means that out of 1 million particles in the air, over 410 of them were CO2. According to Yale Environment 360, pre-industrial revolution levels were around 280 ppm.
CO2 traps heat in Earth's atmosphere, contributing to the "greenhouse effect" and causing average global temperatures to go up.
According to NOAA, the concentration of CO2 has been increasing every year, but the speed at which it's increasing is also accelerating.
Trending stories at Newsy.com
VIDEO - Trump shows Kim the inside of "The Beast" his presidential limo - YouTube
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 13:00
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VIDEO - 'Kim Jong Un Got It All for Doing Nothing' - Political Wire
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 10:34
"There are a lot of blogs and news sites claiming to understand politics, but only a few actually do. Political Wire is one of them."
-- Chuck Todd, host of "Meet the Press"
"Concise. Relevant. To the point. Political Wire is the first site I check when I'm looking for the latest political nugget. That pretty much says it all."
-- Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report
"Political Wire is one of only four or five sites that I check every day and sometimes several times a day, for the latest political news and developments.''
-- Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report
"The big news, delicious tidbits, pearls of wisdom -- nicely packaged, constantly updated... What political junkie could ask for more?"
-- Larry Sabato, Center for Politics, University of Virginia
VIDEO - MEP Slams EU Globalists For ''Islamic Invasion'' of Europe
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 16:01
''You decided to surrender and submit on behalf of your citizens''MEP and UKIP leader Gerard Batten caused howls of derision in the European Parliament today after he accused globalists of allowing an ''Islamic invasion'' of the continent.
''Our security is endangered because of the results of mass immigration,'' said Batten, pointing to the arrival of millions of migrants from Africa and the Middle East since Angela Merkel opened Germany's borders in 2015.
''You have turned many parts of Europe into foreign countries,'' he continued, before savaging the EU for framing the debate as ''helping defenseless refugee families'' when in reality, ''the vast majority of these migrants are young men from Islamic countries.''
''This is not immigration, this is invasion,'' said Batten, a line that prompted an outburst of audible moans from globalist members of the Parliament.
MEP blasts EU globalists for allowing "Islamic invasion" of Europe.
"You have decided to surrender and submit on behalf of your citizens."
Says populist "rebellion" is now stirring in response to this betrayal.https://t.co/XCjKUa6o5l pic.twitter.com/Q9dvKT26x8
'-- Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) June 13, 2018
''Traditionally Europe resisted Islamic invasion, heroic struggles in the siege of Malta, at the gates of Vienna have now been replaced by abject surrender,'' he added, prompted more wails of discontent from his adversaries.
''Islam offers two options '' submit or resist,'' said Batten, to which one MEP responded by shouting, ''stop it!''
Undeterred, Batten continued; ''You have decided to surrender and submit on behalf of your citizens, but some states are resisting, rebellion is now stirring in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and elsewhere '' the tide is turning against the EU.''
Batten's view is shared by a majority of Europeans (55%) who say immigration from Muslim-majority countries should be halted completely.
What do Europeans think about Muslim immigration?New Chatham House survey of 10,000 people from 10 countries: https://t.co/QOwwwS2cAf pic.twitter.com/svaOzbtIIj
'-- Chatham House (@ChathamHouse) February 7, 2017
A poll conducted by the Royal Institute of International Affairs last year found that just 20% of citizens in Europe disagreed with the phrase, ''All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped.''
During his speech, Batten also slammed the bureaucratic body for ignoring the results of national referendums and transferring political power to itself while destroying economies by forcing them to adopt the euro and then hitting them with crippling austerity measures.
The UKIP leader called Brexit a ''modern peasants revolt against their out of touch overlords'' which would set the example for the rest of Europe to rebel against rule from Brussels.
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Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.
VIDEO - Trump military exercise giveaway to N. Korea suits Putin's goals
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 15:06
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VIDEO - EP Plenary session: Future of Europe - debate with Mark RUTTE, Prime Minister of the Netherlands - Statement by Mark RUTTE, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (10:06) - Multimedia Centre
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:08
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VIDEO - The action-movie style trailer Trump says he played to Kim Jong-un - YouTube
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 12:20
VIDEO - Ryan Saavedra 🇺🇸 on Twitter: "CNN's Jim Acosta interrupts a historic signing ceremony with North Korea, shouts questions at President Trump. #TrumpKimSummit https://t.co/6SJPOFvcto"
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 12:11
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VIDEO - Biden confronted at book-signing about groping women
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 11:40
Joe Biden, the vice president under Barack Obama, was not expecting to get questioned about groping women over the weekend as he continued his book tour, but that's exactly what happened.
During a stop in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, a man in the second row of the Grand Opera House stood up and asked Biden:
''What about the girls you molested on C-Span at the Senate swearing in?''
The audience erupted into loud booing with some calling the questioner a ''scumbag.''
The man responded: ''He did it! Let him answer '... Answer the question '... You're not gonna answer the question?''
For his part, Biden was able to quiet the crowd when he stated, ''This is not Trump world.''
The heckler was escorted from the event by security.
The Journal News of Wilmington noted: ''Otherwise Biden's American Promise Tour, which revolved around his book 'Promise me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose,' was a lovefest between the longtime Delaware senator and his peeps.''
VIDEO - Dit zegt Rutte over 'ongecontroleerde instroom migranten' | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 11:21
24 min geleden in BINNENLAND
Tijdens zijn speech in het Europees Parlement spreekt Mark Rutte ook over de problemen omtrent migratie in Europa.
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VIDEO - MSNBC Guest Suggests North Korea Summit Is Only A Distraction From Russia Investigation | The Daily Caller
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 10:33
8:51 PM 06/11/2018Julia Nista | General Assignment Reporter
Mara Gay, an editorial board member for The New York Times, suggested Monday on MSNBC that the meeting between North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and President Trump exists to distract from the Russia investigation.
WATCH:
''This is not just a meeting about foreign policy, this is about Donald Trump's political survival. He has said to friends that he plans on taking a win in North Korea to the voters. That's their midterm message; that's all they've got,'' MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace said.
''That's right,'' said Gay. ''I mean that's what's actually so terrifying in part.''
Gay added that ''thinking about this realistically, we know enough about President Trump to know that he's not going to come home and say that he failed. He's going to call this a win no matter what.''
Wallace and her guests bantered until Gay later added, ''You look at the polls, it's really interesting because the more that we're talking about North Korea, you know the less we're talking about Russia, right? The less we're talking about issues at home, and I think you see, you know that's true for Kim I'm sure as well.''
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VIDEO - MSNBC Host: I'm Sure I Shout Insults Like ''F*ck Trump'' In the Shower'... | Weasel Zippers
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 10:32
Stephanie Ruhle being hit hard by Trump Derangement Syndrome.
HT: Free Beacon
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ZIP |June 11, 2018 5:15 pm
VIDEO - Tony-Nominated Actress: Trump Is Not Welcome At Harry Potter Play'... | Weasel Zippers
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 10:31
Trump is devastated, no doubt.
Donald Trump is NOT welcome at "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," says actress Noma Dumezweni, who plays Hermione in @JK_Rowling's stage phenomenon (Watch) #TonyAwards https://t.co/J38eYkTmB6 pic.twitter.com/m5vKSylPfH
'-- Variety (@Variety) June 10, 2018
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VIDEO - MSNBC Host Asks If Melania And Ivanka Trump Are ''Dead Inside'''... | Weasel Zippers
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 10:29
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ZIP |June 11, 2018 1:20 pm
VIDEO - Bill Clinton: 'Norms have changed' for what you can do to somebody against their will - CNNPolitics
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 09:18
By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Updated 4:57 AM EDT, Tue June 12, 2018
Washington (CNN) Former President Bill Clinton suggested the "norms have changed" in society for what "you can do to somebody against their will" in response to a question about former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken's resignation from Congress following sexual harassment allegations.
"I think the norms have really changed in terms of, what you can do to somebody against their will, how much you can crowd their space, make them miserable at work," Clinton told PBS Newshour in an interview that aired Thursday. "You don't have to physically assault somebody to make them, you know, uncomfortable at work or at home or in their other -- just walking around. That, I think, is good."
Clinton's remarks come amidst a series of media appearances promoting a new book he co-authored with legendary novelist James Patterson. Last Monday, he had to clarify remarks he made to NBC, where he defended himself from criticism of his 1995 affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
PBS Newshour host Judy Woodruff had asked Clinton about Franken, who resigned from Congress in January amid allegations that he touched women inappropriately. Clinton, himself, has been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and rape, which he has denied.
Angel Urena, a Clinton spokesman, responded to Clinton's comment by telling CNN the former president "was asked about a particular case, period."
"It's clear from the context," Urena said. "He was not suggesting that there was ever a time that it was acceptable to do something against someone's will. He's saying that norms have changed in a variety of ways in how we interact with one another, and that's all for the good."
In his interview with PBS, Clinton called Franken's situation a "difficult case" and questioned one of the accusations leveled at Franken, a former comedian.
"Maybe I'm just an old-fashioned person, but it seemed to me that there were 29 women on 'Saturday Night Live' that put out a statement for him, and that the first and most fantastic story was called, I believe, into question," Clinton told PBS, referring to the dozens of women, former and current SNL staff members, who issued a statement in support of Franken.
In an essay she penned for Vanity Fair in February, Lewinsky re-evaluated her affair with Clinton, writing that she's beginning to "consider the implications of power differentials" and entertaining the "notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot."
Clinton, who was impeached and faced removal from the presidency, told NBC last week he "did the right thing" in remaining in office after the Lewinsky scandal and he does not owe Lewinsky a personal apology because he's already apologized in public.
CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.
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VIDEO - Robert De Niro Slams Trump at the Tonys: 'F'-- Trump' '' Variety
Mon, 11 Jun 2018 03:21
Robert De Niro had a simple introduction to Bruce Springsteen's Tony performance.
''I just want to say one thing '-- F'-- Trump,'' De Niro said while pumping his fists in the air. ''It's no longer down with Trump. It's f'-- Trump.''
The political sentiment earned De Niro a standing ovation, while CBS scrambled to bleep the audio. After the audience settled, De Niro got back to talking about Springsteen, who received a special Tony Award on Sunday night. The intimate show ''Springsteen on Broadway'' '-- or as De Niro referred to it, ''Jersey Boy'' '-- features the Boss performing his music and sharing stories from his 2016 autobiography ''Born to Run.'' Tickets to the show, which has been extended twice, are upwards of $850.
''Do you have any idea how hard it is to get tickets for Bruce Springsteen's show on Broadway? It's easier to get tickets for 'Hamilton,' and that's got a much bigger cast, actual dancing and a history lesson,'' the actor joked.
So when De Niro got the call to see Springsteen play live, he said 'yes without asking any questions.''
''Bruce, you can rock the house like nobody else,'' he said. ''And even more important in these perilous times, you rock the vote, always fighting for, in your own words, ''Truth, transparency, and integrity in government. Boy, do we need that now.''
Springsteen then took the stage to perform a soulful rendition of ''My Hometown.''
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VIDEO - Kobe Steel chief is resigning over fake data scandal
Sun, 10 Jun 2018 20:02
The CEO of Kobe Steel said Tuesday that he's resigning from the Japanese company that shocked global businesses by admitting it falsified data about metal it supplied to makers of planes, cars and other products. The revelations from Kobe late last year intensified concerns about declining standards at top Japanese companies, which have long been admired for their high quality manufacturing.
';var storytext = document.getElementById('storytext');var heightToSkip = 0;function resetValues(){totalHeight = 0;targetChildElement = null;}// Check if story is in the blacklist of articles to remove smartassets// [2017.07.27] Results of a one-off request from r.barbieriif(BLACKLIST[location.pathname] === true) {return}if(storytext == null){console.log("Error finding storytext element for SA embed");return;}for ( i = 0; i 0){heightToSkip -= storytext.childNodes[i].clientHeight;resetValues();}else if(heightToSkip minHeight && targetChildElement != null){//console.log("total height = " + totalHeight);//console.log("childNode = " + targetChildElement);storytext.childNodes[targetChildElement].insertAdjacentHTML('afterend', smartAssetDiv); smartasset = document.getElementById('smartasset-article'); smartasset.style.float = 'left'; // allows module to have text float to right smartasset.style.marginRight ='20px'; smartasset.style.marginBottom ='25px';//console.log(storytext.childNodes[targetChildElement]);//SMARTASSET.setDivIndex(targetChildElement);SMARTASSET.setSmartAssetScript();/* bail out since we're done */break;}}/* div with id="smartassetcontainer". Sanity check to only embed once */else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'div' && storytext.childNodes[i].id !== "undefined" && storytext.childNodes[i].id === "smartassetcontainer") {break;}/* div with id="ie_column" */else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'div' && storytext.childNodes[i].id !== "undefined" && storytext.childNodes[i].id === "ie_column") {resetValues();}/* embeds from twitter, facebook, youtube */else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'div' && storytext.childNodes[i].classList.contains('embed')) {resetValues();}/* cnn video player */else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'div' && storytext.childNodes[i].classList.contains('cnnplayer')) {resetValues();}/* images */else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'img') {resetValues();}/* images stored in figure tags */ else if (storytext.childNodes[i].nodeName.toLowerCase() === 'figure') {if(storytext.childNodes[i].clientWidth Kobe CEO Hiroya Kawasaki, who also holds the titles of chairman and president, said at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday that he would step down on April 1.
"We have more than 112 years of history and have worked hard for customers, thanks to the trust we had from customers," Kawasaki told reporters Tuesday. "However, we have hugely damaged it."
Other top managers are also leaving, including several senior executives who are being fired, the company said in a statement. It plans to appoint a replacement for Kawasaki soon.
Related: What's wrong with Japan Inc?
Kobe ( KBSTY ) , one of the world's top steelmakers, said in October that its employees had faked reports to make it look as though some of its copper, aluminum and steel products met the specifications requested by customers, when in fact they didn't.
Kobe's products were supplied to almost 700 companies, including top manufacturers like Boeing ( BA ) and Toyota ( TM ) . Many of the affected customers have since said that their investigations have found products made using the falsely labeled metals to be safe.
The steelmaker said Tuesday the practice of falsifying product data went back as far as the 1970s.
The initial news of the scandal triggered a 40% plunge in Kobe's share price. But it has since recouped more than half of that loss as fears about the severity of the crisis have eased.
Hiroya Kawasaki said the scandal at Kobe Steel has done huge damage to the company's reputation. Kobe published a lengthy report on its website Tuesday that summarized the findings of a months-long investigation into the scandal. The report promised to implement steps to improve quality control procedures and the company's management.
Japan Inc has amassed a growing pile of embarrassing scandals in recent years.
They include Takata's deadly airbags, Mitsubishi Motors' fudged fuel-efficiency tests and Toshiba's ( TOSBF ) damaging debacles over its corporate accounting and troubled nuclear power business.
Related: Mitsubishi Materials admits faking data
Kobe's fake data admission in October was one of a series of mea culpas by big Japanese companies late last year.
For example, Nissan temporarily halted production of cars for the Japanese market after discovering inspections were not carried out properly at several factories.
That was followed by announcements of problems at Subaru and Mitsubishi Materials.
-- Chie Kobayashi contributed to this report.
CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First published March 6, 2018: 2:15 AM ET

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